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t 




THE POEMS 



OF 



THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH 



EebtscU anfc Complete 



detrition 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

press, vJTambrib0c 



Copyright, 1858, 1862, 1876, 1883, 1886, 1889, 1890, 1893, 1894, 1896, 1897, 
BY THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH. 

Copyright, 1865, 
BY TICKNOR & FIELDS. 

Copyright, 1873, 
BY JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO. 

Copyright, 1882, 1883, 1885, 
, BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO. 

All rights reserved. 



TJte Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A. 
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton and Company. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

FLOWER AND THORN i 

BABY BELL AND OTHER POEMS 

BABY BELL 3 

PISCATAQUA RIVER 7 

PAMPINA 9 

INVOCATION TO SLEEP 12 

THE FLIGHT OF THE GODDESS 14 

AN OLD CASTLE l6 

LOST AT SEA ig 

THE QUEEN'S RIDE 21 

i ' I Kill' e * J 

ON LYNN TERRACE 25 

SEADRIFT 27 

THE PIAZZA OF ST. MARK AT MIDNIGHT . . 29 

THE METEMPSYCHOSIS 30 

BAYARD TAYLOR 34 

INTERLUDES 

HESPERIDES 35 

BEFORE THE RAIN 36 

AFTER THE RAIN 36 

A SNOWFLAKE 37 

FROST-WORK 37 

THE ONE WHITE ROSE 38 

LANDSCAPE 38 

NOCTURNE 39 

APPRECIATION 40 



iv CONTENTS 

PALABRAS CARINOSAS ... 4! 

APPARITIONS ... 4 2 

UNSUNG 4 2 

AN UNTIMELY THOUGHT . 43 

ONE WOMAN c 44 

REALISM 45 

DISCIPLINE .... 45 

DESTINY .46 

NAMELESS PAIN 47 

HEREDITY . 47 

IDENTITY .... . 48 

LYRICS AND EPICS .... 49 

A WINTER PIECE ... 49 
KRISS KRINGLE . ... 50 

RENCONTRE .... 5 1 

LOVE'S CALENDAR . 5 l 

LOST ART. o ... .52 

CLOTH OF GOLD 

PROEM . 53 

AN ARAB WELCOME . . 54 

A TURKISH LEGEND . . -54 

THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS . 55 

THE UNFORGIVEN . 5^ 

DRESSING THE BRIDE . . 5% 

TWO SONGS FROM THE PERSIAN . 5& 

TIGER-LILIES .... . . 60 

THE SULTANA .... . 6l 

THE WORLD'S WAY .... 62 

LATAKIA 63 

WHEN THE SULTAN GOES TO ISPAHAN . 65 

A PRELUDE .... . . 67 

TO HAFIZ 68 

AT NIJNII-NOVGOROD ... 69 

THE LAMENT OF EL MOULOK . 7 

NOURMADEE ....== 7 2 



CONTENTS v 

FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK ETC. 

FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK . . 81 

MIANTOWONA QO 

THE GUERDON 98 

TITA'S TEARS ........ 101 

A BALLAD 103 

THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI IO; 

BAGATELLE 

CORYDON A PASTORAL 123 

ON AN INTAGLIO HEAD OF MINERVA . . .126 

THE MENU 128 

COMEDY 129 

IN AN ATELIER 130 

AT A READING . . . . . . . . 133 

AMONTILLADO 135 

CARPE DIEM 137 

DANS LA BOHEME 138 

THE LUNCH . 14! 

IMP OF DREAMS 14! 

AN ELECTIVE COURSE 142 

PEP1TA 145 

L'EAU DORMANTE 148 

ECHO SONG 149 

THALIA 150 

PALINODE ........ 153 

MERCEDES 155 

FOOTNOTES A BOOK OF QUATRAINS . . . 195 

SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 205 

WYNDHAM TOWERS 213 

THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY, WITH OTHER POEMS 

THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY 257 

ELMWOOD 261 

WHITE EDITH . 265 

SEA LONGINGS . . 27! 



vi CONTENTS 

THE BELLS AT MIDNIGHT 273 

UNGUARDED GATES 275 

IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY 277 

A SHADOW OF THE NIGHT 278 

THE LAST CAESAR 279 

TENNYSON 283 

ALEC YEATON'S SON 285 

BATUSCHKA 287 

MONODY ON THE DEATH OF WENDELL PHILLIPS . 288 

TWO MOODS 291 

THE SHIPMAN'S TALE 292 

BROKEN MUSIC . . 294 

THE SAILING OF THE AUTOCRAT .... 295 

AT THE FUNERAL OF A MINOR POET . . . 297 
SARGENT'S PORTRAIT OF EDWIN BOOTH AT "THE 

PLAYERS" 300 

" WHEN FROM THE TENSE CHORDS OF THAT MIGHTY 

LYRE" 301 

PAULINE PAVLOVNA 303 

JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

BOOK I. JUDITH IN THE TOWER . . . 315 

BOOK II. THE CAMP OF ASSHUR .... 327 

BOOK III. THE FLIGHT 340 

INTERLUDES 

PRESCIENCE 355 

MEMORY 356 

A MOOD 356 

ACI v. ......... 357 

GUILIELMUS REX 358 

A DEDICATION 359 

"PILLARED ARCH AND SCULPTURED TOWER" . 359 

THRENODY 360 

SESTET 361 

NECROMANCY 361 

FOREVER AND A DAY 362 



CONTENTS vii 

A TOUCH OF NATURE ... . 363 

"I'LL NOT CONFER WITH SORROW" . . . 363 

IN THE BELFRY OF THE NIEUWE KERK . . 364 

NO SONGS IN WINTER 365 

A PARABLE .... . . 366 

INSOMNIA . 366 

SEEMING DEFEAT . . . 367 

" LIKE CRUSOE, WALKING BY THE LONELY STRAND " 368 

KNOWLEDGE . 369 

THE LETTER . 369 

"IN YOUTH, BESIDE THE LONELY SEA" . . . 370 

"GREAT CAPTAIN, GLORIOUS IN OUR WARS " . 37! 

THE WINTER ROBIN ... . . 372 

A REFRAIN 373 

THE VOICE OF THE SEA . . . 374 

ART 374 

IMOGEN 375 

A BRIDAL MEASURE 376 

CRADLE SONG . 377 

SANTO DOMINGO 377 

AT A GRAVE 37$ 

A PETITION 379 

XXVIII SONNETS 

I. INVITA MINERVA ... 381 

II. FREDERICKSBURG . . . 32 

III. BY THE POTOMAC 383 

IV. PURSUIT AND POSSESSION . . 34 
V. MIRACLES .... . 385 

VI. " ENAMORED ARCHITECT OF AIRY RHYME " 386 

VII. EIDOLONS ... ... 387 

VIII. AT BAY RIDGE, LONG ISLAND . . 388 

IX. "EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY" . . 389 

X. EGYPT 39 

XL AT STRATFORD-UPON-AVON . . . 391 

XII. WITH THREE FLOWERS .... 3Q2 



viii CONTENTS 

XIII. THE LORELEI 393 

xiv. SLEEP 394 

XV. THORWALDSEN 395 

XVI. AN ALPINE PICTURE 396 

XVII. TO L. T. IN FLORENCE .... 397 

XVIII. HENRY HOWARD BROWNELL . . . 398 

XIX. THE RARITY OF GENIUS .... 399 

XX. BOOKS AND SEASONS 4OO 

XXI. OUTWARD BOUND 4<DI 

XXII. ELLEN TERRY IN "THE MERCHANT OF VEN- 
ICE" 4O2 

XXIII. THE POETS 403 

XXIV. THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY . . . 404 
XXV. ANDROMEDA 405 

XXVI. REMINISCENCE 406 

XXVII. ON READING WILLIAM WATSON'S SONNETS 

ENTITLED "THE PURPLE EAST" . 407 
XXVIII. " I VEX ME NOT WITH BROODING ON THE 

YEARS" 4S 

SHAW MEMORIAL ODE . . 49 
INDEX OF FIRST LINES ... -413 

GENERAL INDEX OF TITLES .... 420 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 

THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH, FROM A RECENT PHOTOGRAPH 

BY G. C. COX OF NEW YORK . . Frontispiece 

THE QUEEN'S RIDE 22 

DRESSING THE BRIDE 58 

WHEN THE SULTAN GOES TO ISPAHAN ... 66 

FRIAR JEROME 82 

LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI IO8 

MOONRISE AT SEA 20O 

SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 2O6 

JUDITH '. 316 

EGYPT 390 



FLOWER AND THORN 

TO L. A. 



AT Shiraz, in a sultan's garden, stood 
A tree whereon a curious apple grew, 
One side like honey, and one side like rue. 

Thus sweet and bitter is the life of man, 
The sultan said, for thus together grow 
Bitter and sweet, but wherefore none may know. 

Herewith together you have flower and thorn, 
Both rose and brier, for thus together grow 
Bitter and sweet, but wherefore none may know. 

ii 

Take them and keep them, 
Silvery thorn and flower, 
Plucked just at random 
In the rosy weather 
Snowdrops and pansies, 
Sprigs of wayside heather, 



FLOWER AND THORN 

And five-leafed wild-rose 
Dead within an hour. 

Take them and keep them : 
Who can tell ? some day, dear, 
(Though they be withered, 
Flower and thorn and blossom,) 
Held for an instant 
Up against thy bosom, 
They might make December 
Seem to thee like May, dear! 



BABY BELL AND OTHER 
POEMS 



BABY BELL 



HAVE you not heard the poets tell 
How came the dainty Baby Bell 
Into this world of ours ? 
The gates of heaven were left ajar : 
With folded hands and dreamy eyes, 
Wandering out of Paradise, 
She saw this planet, like a star, 
Hung in the glistening depths of even 
Its bridges, running to and fro, 
O'er which the white-winged Angels go, 
Bearing the holy Dead to heaven. 
She touched a bridge of flowers those feet, 
So light they did not bend the bells 
Of the celestial asphodels, 
They fell like dew upon the flowers : 
The^i all the air grew strangely sweet. 
And thus came dainty Baby Bell 
Into this world of ours. 

3 



BABY BELL 

II 

She came and brought delicious May; 
The swallows built beneath the eaves ; 
Like sunlight, in and out the leaves 
The robins went, the livelong day ; 
The lily swung its noiseless bell ; 
And on the porch the slender vine 
Held out its cups of fairy wine. 
How tenderly the twilights fell ! 
Oh, earth was full of singing-birds 
And opening springtide flowers, 
When the dainty Baby Bell 
Came to this world of ours. 



in 



O Baby, dainty Baby Bell, 
How fair she grew from day to day ! 
What woman-nature filled her eyes, 
What poetry within them lay 
Those deep and tender twilight eyes, 
So full of meaning, pure and bright 
As if she yet stood in the light 
Of those oped gates of Paradise. 
And so we loved her more and more : 
Ah, never in our hearts before 
Was love so lovely born. 
We felt we had a link between 



BABY BELL 5 

This real world and that unseen 

The land beyond the morn ; 

And for the love of those dear eyes, 

For love of her whom God led forth, 

(The mother's being ceased on earth 

When Baby came from Paradise,) 

For love of Him who smote our lives, 

And woke the chords of joy and pain, 

We said, Dear Christ ! our hearts bowed down 

Like violets after rain. 



IV 

And now the orchards, which were white 

And pink with blossoms when she came, 

Were rich in autumn's mellow prime ; 

The clustered apples burnt like flame, 

The folded chestnut burst its shell, 

The grapes hung purpling, range on range 

And time wrought just as rich a change 

In little Baby Bell. 

Her lissome form more perfect grew, 

And in her features we could trace, 

In softened curves, her mother's face. 

Her angel-nature ripened too : 

We thought her lovely when she came, 

But she was holy, saintly now . . . 

Around her pale angelic brow 

We saw a slender ring of flame. 



BABY BELL 



God's hand had taken away the seal 
That held the portals of her speech ; 
And oft she said a few strange words 
Whose meaning lay beyond our reach. 
She never was a child to us, 
We never held her being's key ; 
We could not teach her holy things 
Who was Christ's self in purity. 



VI 

It came upon us by degrees, 
We saw its shadow ere it fell 
The knowledge that our God had sent 
His messenger for Baby Bell. 
We shuddered with unlanguaged pain, 
And all our hopes were changed to fears, 
And all our thoughts ran into tears 
Like sunshine into rain. 
We cried aloud in our belief, 
" Oh, smite us gently, gently, God ! 
Teach us to bend and kiss the rod, 
And perfect grow through grief." 
Ah ! how we loved her, God can tell ; 
Her heart was folded deep in ours. 
Our hearts are broken, Baby Bell ! 



PISCATAQUA RIVER 
VII 

At last he came, the messenger, 
The messenger from unseen lands : 
And what did dainty Baby Bell ? 
She only crossed her little hands, 
She only looked more meek and fair ! 
We parted back her silken hair, 
We wove the roses round her brow 
White buds, the summer's drifted snow 
Wrapt her from head to foot in flowers 
And thus went dainty Baby Bell 
Out of this world of ours. 



PISCATAQUA RIVER 

THOU singest by the gleaming isles, 
By woods, and fields of corn, 
Thou singest, and the sunlight smiles 
Upon my birthday morn. 

But I within a city, I, 
So full of vague unrest, 
Would almost give my life to lie 
An hour upon thy breast ! 

To let the wherry listless go, 
And, wrapt in dreamy joy, 



8 PISCATAQUA RIVER 

Dip, and surge idly to and fro, 
Like the red harbor-buoy ; 

To sit in happy indolence, 

To rest upon the oars, 

And catch the heavy earthy scents 

That blow from summer shores ; 

To see the rounded sun go down, 
And with its parting fires 
Light up the windows of the town 
And burn the tapering spires ; 

And then to hear the muffled tolls 
From steeples slim and white, 
And watch, among the Isles of Shoals, 
The Beacon's orange light. 

O River ! flowing to the main 
Through woods, and fields of corn, 
Hear thou my longing and my pain 
This sunny birthday morn ; 

And take this song which sorrow shapes 
To music like thine own, 
And sing it to the cliffs and capes 
And crags where I am known ! 



PAMPINA 

PAMPINA 

LYING by the summer sea 
I had a dream of Italy. 

Chalky cliffs and miles of sand, 

Dripping reefs and salty caves, 

Then the sparkling emerald waves. 

Faded ; and I seemed to stand, 

Myself an old-time Florentine, 

In the heart of that fair land. 

And in a garden cool and green, 

Boccaccio's own enchanted place, 

I met Pampina face to face 

A maid so lovely that to see 

Her smile was to know Italy. 

Her hair was like a coronet 

Upon her Grecian forehead set, 

Where one gem glistened sunnily 

Like Venice, when first seen at sea. 

I saw within her violet eyes 

The starlight of Italian skies, 

And on her brow and breast and hand 

The olive of her native land. 

And, knowing how in other times 
Her lips were rich with Tuscan rhymes 
Of love and wine and dance, I spread 



10 PAMPINA 

My mantle by an almond-tree, 
And "Here, beneath the rose," I said, 
" I '11 hear thy Tuscan melody." 
I heard a tale that was not told 
In those ten dreamy days of old, 
When Heaven, for some divine offence, 
Smote Florence with the pestilence ; 
And in that garden's odorous shade 
The dames of the Decameron, 
With each a loyal lover, strayed, 
To laugh and sing, at sorest need, 
To lie in the lilies in the sun 
With glint of plume and silver brede. 
And while she whispers in my ear, 
The pleasant Arno murmurs near, 
The timid, slim chameleons run 
Through twenty colors in the sun ; 
The breezes blur the fountain's glass, 
And wake aeolian melodies, 
And scatter from the scented trees 
The lemon-blossoms on the grass. 

The tale ? I have forgot the tale 
A Lady all for love forlorn, 
A rose tree, and a nightingale 
That bruised his bosom on the thorn ; 
A jar of rubies buried deep, 
A glen, a corpse, a child asleep, 
A Monk, that was no monk at all, 
In the moonlight by a castle-wall. 



PAMPINA ii 

Now while the dark-eyed Tuscan wove 
The gilded thread of her romance 
Which I have lost by grievous chance 
The one dear woman that I love, 
Beside me in our seaside nook, 
Closed a white finger in her book, 
Half vext that she should read, and weep 
For Petrarch, to a man asleep. 
And scorning one so tame and cold, 
She rose, and wandered down the shore, 
Her wind-swept drapery, fold in fold, 
Imprisoned by a snowy hand ; 
And on a bowlder, half in sand, 
She stood, and looked at Appledore. 

And waking, I beheld her there 
Sea-dreaming in the moted air, 
A siren lithe and debonair, 
With wristlets woven of scarlet weeds, 
And strings of lucent amber beads 
Of sea-kelp shining in her hair. 
And as I thought of dreams, and how 
The something in us never sleeps, 
But laughs, or sings, or moans, or weeps, 
She turned and on her breast and brow 
I saw the tint that seemed not won 
From touches of New England sun ; 
I saw on brow and breast and hand 
The olive of a sunnier land. 



12 INVOCATION TO SLEEP 

She turned and, lo ! within her eyes 
There lay the starlight of Italian skies. 

Most dreams are dark, beyond the range 
Of reason ; oft we cannot tell 
If they are born of heaven or hell : 
But to my thought it seems not strange 
That, lying by the summer sea, 
With that dark woman watching me, 
I slept and dreamed of Italy. 



INVOCATION TO SLEEP 



THERE is a rest for all things. On still nights 
There is a folding of a world of wings 

The bees in unknown woods, 
The painted dragonflies, and downy broods 

In dizzy poplar heights 
Rest for innumerable nameless things, 
Rest for the creatures underneath the sea, 
And in the earth, and in the starry air. 
It comes to heavier sorrow than I bear, 
To pain, and want, and crime, and dark despair 

And yet comes not to me ! 



INVOCATION TO SLEEP 13 



II 



One that has fared a long and toilsome way 
And sinks beneath the burden of the day, 

O delicate Sleep, 

Brings thee a soul that he would have thee keep 
A captive in thy shadowy domain 
With Puck and Ariel and the happy train 
That people dreamland. Give unto his sight 
Immortal shapes, and fetch to him again 
His Psyche that went out into the night ! 



in 

Thou that dost hold the priceless gift of rest, 
Strew lotus leaf and poppy on his breast ; 

Reach forth thy hand 
And lead him to thy castle in the land 

All vainly sought 
To those hushed chambers lead him, where the 

thought 

Wanders at will upon enchanted ground, 
And never human footfall makes a sound 

Along the corridors. 

The bell sleeps in the belfry from its tongue 
A drowsy murmur floats into the air 
Like thistle-down. There is no bough but seems 
Weighted with slumber slumber everywhere ! 



14 THE FLIGHT OF THE GODDESS 

Couched on her leaf, the lily sways and dips ; 
In the green dusk where joyous birds have sung 
Sits Silence with her finger on her lips ; 
Shy woodland folk and sprites that haunt the 

streams 

Are pillowed now in grottoes cool and deep ; 
But I in chilling twilight stand and wait 
At the portcullis of thy castle gate, 
Longing to see the charmed door of dreams 
Turn on its noiseless hinges, delicate Sleep ! 



THE FLIGHT OF THE GODDESS 

A MAN should live in a garret aloof, 
And have few friends, and go poorly clad, 
With an old hat stopping the chink in the roof, 
To keep the Goddess constant and glad. 

Of old, when I walked on a rugged way, 
And gave much work for but little bread, 
The Goddess dwelt with me night and day, 
Sat at my table, haunted my bed. 

The narrow, mean attic, I see it now ! 
Its window o'erlooking the city's tiles, 
The sunset's fires, and the clouds of snow, 
And the river wandering miles and miles. 



THE FLIGHT OF THE GODDESS 15 

Just one picture hung in the room, 
The saddest story that Art can tell 
Dante and Virgil in lurid gloom 
Watching the Lovers float through Hell. 

r 

Wretched enough was I sometimes, 
Pinched, and harassed with vain desires ; 
But thicker than clover sprung the rhymes 
As I dwelt like a sparrow among the spires. 

Midnight filled my slumbers with song; 
Music haunted my dreams by day. 
Now I listen and wait and long, 
But the Delphian airs have died away. 

I wonder and wonder how it befell : 
Suddenly I had friends in crowds ; 
I bade the house-tops a long farewell ; 
"Good-by," I cried, "to the stars and clouds! 

" But thou, rare soul, thou hast dwelt with me, 
Spirit of Poesy ! thou divine 
Breath of the morning, thou shalt be, 
Goddess ! for ever and ever mine." 

And the woman I loved was now my bride, 
And the house I wanted was my own ; 
I turned to the Goddess satisfied 
But the Goddess had somehow flown. 



16 AN OLD CASTLE 

Flown, and I fear she will never return ; 
I am much too sleek and happy for her, 
Whose lovers must hunger and waste and burn, 
Ere the beautiful heathen heart will stir. 

I call but she does not stoop to my cry; 
I wait but she lingers, and ah ! so long ! 
It was not so in the years gone by, 
When she touched my lips with chrism of song. 

I swear I will get me a garret again, 
And adore, like a Parsee, the sunset's fires, 
And lure the Goddess, by vigil and pain, 
Up with the sparrows among the spires. 

For a man should live in a garret aloof, 
And have few friends, and go poorly clad, 
With an old hat stopping the chink in the roof, 
To keep the Goddess constant and glad. 



AN OLD CASTLE 



THE gray arch crumbles, 

And totters and tumbles ; 

The bat has built in the banquet hall 



AN OLD CASTLE 

In the donjon-keep 

Sly mosses creep ; 

The ivy has scaled the southern wall. 

No man-at-arms 

Sounds quick alarms 

A-top of the cracked martello tower; 

The drawbridge-chain 

Is broken in twain - 

The bridge will neither rise nor lower. 

Not any manner 

Of broidered banner 

Flaunts at a blazoned herald's call. 

Lilies float 

In the stagnant moat ; 

And fair they are, and tall. 



n 

Here, in the old 

Forgotten springs, 

Was wassail held by queens and kings 

Here at the board 

Sat clown and lord, 

Maiden fair and lover bold, 

Baron fat and minstrel lean, 

The prince with his stars, 

The knight with his scars, 

The priest in his gabardine. 



18 AN OLD CASTLE 

in 

Where is she 

Of the fleur-de-lys, 

And that true knight who wore her gages ? 

Where are the glances 

That bred wild fancies 

In curly heads of my lady's pages ? 

Where are those 

Who, in steel or hose, 

Held revel here, and made them gay ? 

Where is the laughter 

That shook the rafter 

Where is the rafter, by the way ? 

Gone is the roof, 

And perched aloof 

Is an owl, like a friar of Orders Gray. 

(Perhaps 't is the priest 

Come back to feast 

He had ever a tooth for capon, he ! 

But the capon 's cold, 

And the steward 's old, 

And the butler 's lost the larder-key !) 

The doughty lords 

Sleep the sleep of swords ; 

Dead are the dames and damozels | 

The King in his crown 

Hath laid him down, 

And the Jester with his bells. 



LOST AT SEA 19 

IV 

All is dead here : 

Poppies are red here, 

Vines in my lady's chamber grow 

If 't was her chamber 

Where they clamber 

Up from the poisonous weeds below. 

All is dead here, 

Joy is fled here ; 

Let us hence. 'Tis the end of all 

The gray arch crumbles, 

And totters, and tumbles, 

And Silence sits in the banquet hall. 



LOST AT SEA 

THE face that Carlo Dolci drew 
Looks down from out its leafy hood 
The holly berries, gleaming through 
The pointed leaves, seem drops of blood. 

Above the cornice, round the hearth, 
Are evergreens and spruce-tree boughs ; 
'Tis Christmas morning: Christmas mirth 
And joyous voices fill the house. 



20 LOST AT SEA 

I pause, and know not what to do; 
I feel reproach that I am glad : 
Until to-day, no thought of you, 

Comrade ! ever made me sad. 

But now the thought of your blithe heart, 
Your ringing laugh, can give me pain, 
Knowing that we are worlds apart, 
Not knowing we shall meet again. 

For all is dark that lies in store : 
Though they may preach, the brotherhood, 
We know just this, and nothing more, 
That we are dust, and God is good. 

What life begins when death makes end ? 
Sleek gownsmen, is 't so very clear ? 
How fares it with us ? O my Friend, 

1 only know you are not here ! 

That I am in a warm, light room, 
With life and love to comfort me, 
While you are drifting through the gloom, 
Beneath the sea, beneath the sea ! 

* 

O wild green waves that lash the sands 
Of Santiago and beyond, 
Lift him, I pray, with gentle hands, 
And bear him on true heart and fond ! 



THE QUEEN'S RIDE 21 

To some still grotto far below 
The washings of the warm Gulf Stream 
Bear him, and let the winds that blow 
About the world not break his dream ! 

I smooth my brow. Upon the stair 
I hear my children shout in glee, 
With sparkling eyes and floating hair, 
Bringing a Christmas wreath for me. 



Their joy, like sunshine deep and broad, 
Falls on my heart, and makes me glad : 
I think the face of our dear Lord 
Looks down on them, and seems not sad t 



THE QUEEN'S RIDE 

AN INVITATION 

'T is that fair time of year, 
When stately Guinevere, 
In her sea-green robe and hood, 
Went a-riding through the wood. 

And as the Queen did ride, 
Sir Launcelot at her side 
Laughed and chatted, bending over, 
Half her friend and all her lover. 



22 THE QUEEN'S RIDE 

And as they rode along, 

The throstle gave them song, 

And the buds peeped through the grass 

To see youth and beauty pass. 

And on, through deathless time, 

These lovers in their prime 

(Two fairy ghosts together !) 

Ride, with sea-green robe, and feather 1 

And so we two will ride, 
At your pleasure, side by side, 
Laugh and chat ; I bending over, 
Half your friend, and all your lover. 

But if you like not this, 
And take my love amiss, 
Then I '11 ride unto the end, 
Half your lover, all your friend. 

So, come which way you will. 
Valley, upland, plain, and hill 
Wait your coming. For one day 
Loose the bridle, and away ! 




THE QUEEN'S RIDE." Page 2. 



DIRGE 23 



DIRGE 

LET us keep him warm, 
Stir the dying fire : 
Upon his tired arm 
Slumbers young Desire. 

Soon, ah, very soon 
We too shall not know 
Either sun or moon, 
Either grass or snow. 

Others in our place 
Come to laugh and weep, 
Win or lose the race, 
And to fall asleep. 

Let us keep him warm, 
Stir the dying fire : 
Upon his tired arm 
Slumbers young Desire. 

What does all avail 
Love, or power, or gold ? 
Life is like a tale 
Ended ere 'tis told. 



24 DIRGE 



Much is left unsaid, 
Much is said in vain 
Shall the broken thread 
Be taken up again ? 

Let us keep him warm, 
Stir the dying fire : 
Upon his tired arm 
Slumbers young Desire. 

Kisses one or two 
On his eyelids set, 
That, when all is through, 
He may not forget. 

He has far to go 
Is it East or West ? 
Whither ? Who may know! 
Let him take his rest. 

Wind, and snow, and sleet 
So the long night dies. 
Draw the winding-sheet, 
Cover up his eyes. 

Let us keep him warm, 
Stir the dying fire : 
Upon his tired arm 
Slumbers young Desire. 



ON LYNN TERRACE 25 



ON LYNN TERRACE 

ALL day to watch the blue wave curl and break, 

All night to hear it plunging on the shore 
In this sea-dream such draughts of life I take, 
I cannot ask for more. 

Behind me lie the idle life and vain, 

The task unfinished, and the weary hours ; 
That long wave softly bears me back to Spain 
And the Alhambra's towers ! 

Once more I halt in Andalusian Pass, 

To list the mule-bells jingling on the height ; 
Below, against the dull esparto grass, 
The almonds glimmer white. 

Huge gateways, wrinkled, with rich grays and 

browns, 

Invite my fancy, and I wander through 
The gable-shadowed, zigzag streets of towns 
The world's first sailors knew. 

Or, if I will, from out this thin sea-haze 
Low-lying cliffs of lovely Calais rise ; 
Or yonder, with the pomp of olden days, 
Venice salutes my eyes. 



26 ON LYNN TERRACE 

Or some gaunt castle lures me up its stair ; 
I see, far off, the red-tiled hamlets shine, 
And catch, through slits of windows here and there, 
Blue glimpses of the Rhine. 

Again I pass Norwegian fjord and fell, 

And through bleak wastes to where the sunset's 

fires 

Light up the white-walled Russian citadel, 
The Kremlin's domes and spires. 

And now I linger in green English lanes, 
By garden-plots of rose and heliotrope j 
And now I face the sudden pelting rains 
On some lone Alpine slope. 

Now at Tangier, among the packed bazaars, 
I saunter, and the merchants at the doors 
Smile, and entice me : here are jewels like stars, 
And curved knives of the Moors ; 

Cloths of Damascus, strings of amber dates ; 

What would Howadji silver, gold, or stone? 
Prone on the sun-scorched plain outside the gates 
The camels make their moan. 

All this is mine, as I lie dreaming here, 

High on the windy terrace, day by day; 
And mine the children's laughter, sweet and clear, 
Ringing across the bay. 



SEADRIFT 27 

For me the clouds ; the ships sail by for me ; 

For me the petulant sea-gull takes its flight ; 
And mine the tender moonrise on the sea, 
And hollow caves of night 



SEADRIFT 

SEE where she stands, on the wet sea-sands, 

Looking across the water : 
Wild is the night, but wilder still 

The face of the fisher's daughter. 

What does she there, in the lightning's glare, 

What does she there, I wonder ? 
What dread demon drags her forth 

In the night and wind and thunder ? 

Is it the ghost that haunts this coast ? 

The cruel waves mount higher, 
And the beacon pierces the stormy dark 

With its javelin of fire. 

Beyond the light of the beacon bright 

A merchantman is tacking ; 
The hoarse wind whistling through the shrouds, 

And the brittle topmasts cracking. 



28 SEADRIFT 

The sea it moans over dead men's bones, 

The sea turns white in anger ; 
The curlews sweep through the resonant air 

With a warning cry of danger. 

The star-fish clings to the sea-weed's rings 

In a vague, dumb sense of peril ; 
And the spray, with its phantom-fingers, grasps 

At the mullein dry and sterile. 

Oh, who is she that stands by the sea, 
In the lightning's glare, undaunted ? 

Seems this now like the coast of hell 
By one white spirit haunted ! 

The night drags by ; and the breakers die 

Along the ragged ledges ; 
The robin stirs in his drenched nest, 

The wild-rose droops on the hedges. 

In shimmering lines, through the dripping pines, 

The stealthy morn advances ; 
And the heavy sea-fog straggles back 

Before those bristling lances. 

Still she stands on the wet sea-sands ; 

The morning breaks above her, 
And the corpse of a sailor gleams on the rocks 

What if it were her lover ? 



THE PIAZZA OF ST. MARK 29 

THE PIAZZA OF ST. MARK AT 
MIDNIGHT 

HUSHED is the music, hushed the hum of voices ; 
Gone is the crowd of dusky promenaders, 
Slender-waisted, almond-eyed Venetians, 
Princes and paupers. Not a single footfall 
Sounds in the arches of the Procuratie. 
One after one, like sparks in cindered paper, 
Faded the lights out in the goldsmiths' windows. 
Drenched with the moonlight lies the still Piazza. 

Fair as the palace builded for Aladdin, 
Yonder St. Mark uplifts its sculptured splendor 
Intricate fretwork, Byzantine mosaic, 
Color on color, column upon column, 
Barbaric, wonderful, a thing to kneel to ! 
Over the portal stand the four gilt horses, 
Gilt hoof in air, and wide distended nostril, 
Fiery, untamed, as in the days of Nero. 
Skyward, a cloud of domes and spires and crosses ; 
Earthward, black shadows flung from jutting stone- 
work. 

High over all the slender Campanile 
Quivers, and seems a falling shaft of silver. 

Hushed is the music, hushed the hum of voices. 
Listen from cornice and fantastic gargoyle, 



3 o THE METEMPSYCHOSIS 

Now and again the moan of dove or pigeon, 
Fairily faint, floats off into the moonlight. 
This, and the murmur of the Adriatic, 
Lazily restless, lapping the mossed marble, 
Staircase or buttress, scarcely break the stillness. 
Deeper each moment seems to grow the silence, 
Denser the moonlight in the still Piazza. 
Hark ! on the Tower above the ancient gateway, 
The twin bronze Vulcans, with their ponderous 

hammers, 
Hammer the midnight on their brazen bell there ! 



THE METEMPSYCHOSIS 

THE thing I am, and not the thing Man is, 
Fills my deep dreaming. Let him moan and die ; 
I know my own creation was divine. 
I brood on all the shapes I must attain 
Before I reach the Perfect, which is God, 
And dream my dream, and let the rabble go ; 
For I am of the mountains and the sea, 
The deserts, and the caverns in the earth, 
The catacombs and fragments of old worlds. 

I was a spirit on the mountain-tops, 
A perfume in the valleys, a simoom 
On arid deserts, a nomadic wind 
Roaming the universe, a tireless voice. 



THE METEMPSYCHOSIS 31 

I was ere Romulus and Remus were ; 
I was ere Nineveh and Babylon ; 
I was, and am, and evermore shall be, 
Progressing, never reaching to the end. 

A hundred years I trembled in the grass, 
The delicate trefoil that muffled warm 
A slope on Ida ; for a hundred years 
Moved in the purple gyre of those dark flowers 
The Grecian women strew upon the dead. 
Under the earth, in fragrant glooms, I dwelt; 
Then in the veins and sinews of a pine 
On a lone isle, where, from the Cyclades, 
A mighty wind, like a leviathan, 
Ploughed through the brine, and from those soli- 
tudes 

Sent Silence, frightened. To and fro I swayed, 
Drawing the sunshine from the stooping clouds. 
Suns came and went, and many a mystic moon, 
Orbing and waning, and fierce meteors, 
Leaving their lurid ghosts to haunt the night. 
I heard loud voices by the sounding shore, 
The stormy sea-gods, and from fluted conchs 
Wild music, and strange shadows floated by, 
Some moaning and some singing. So the years 
Clustered about me, till the hand of God 
Let down the lightning from a sultry sky, 
Splintered the pine and split the iron rock ; 
And from my odorous prison-house a bird, 
I in its bosom, darted ; so we fled, 



32 THE METEMPSYCHOSIS 

Turning the brittle edge of one high wave, 
Island and tree and sea-gods left behind ! 

Free as the air from zone to zone I flew, 
Far from the tumult to the quiet gates 
Of daybreak ; and beneath me I beheld 
Vineyards, and rivers that like silver threads 
Ran through the green and gold of pasture-lands, 
And here and there a convent on a hill, 
And here and there a city in a plain ; 
I saw huge navies battling with a storm 
By hidden reefs along the desolate coasts, 
And lazy merchantmen, that crawled, like flies, 
Over the blue enamel of the sea 
To India or the icy Labradors. 

A century was as a single day. 
What is a day to an immortal soul ? 
A breath, no more. And yet I hold one hour 
Beyond all price that hour when from the sky 
I circled near and nearer to the earth, 
Nearer and nearer, till I brushed my wings 
Against the pointed chestnuts, where a stream, 
That foamed and chattered over pebbly shoals, 
Fled through the briony, and with a shout 
Leapt headlong down a precipice ; and there, 
Gathering wild-flowers in the cool ravine, 
Wandered a woman more divinely shaped 
Than of the creatures of the air, 
Or river-goddesses, or restless shades 
Of noble matrons marvellous in their time 



THE METEMPSYCHOSIS 33 

For beauty and great suffering ; and I sung, 
I charmed her thought, I gave her dreams, and then 
Down from the dewy atmosphere I stole 
And nestled in her bosom. There I slept 
From moon to moon, while in her eyes a thought 
Grew sweet and sweeter, deepening like dawn 
A mystical forewarning ! When the stream, 
Breaking through leafless brambles and dead leaves, 
Piped shriller treble, and from chestnut boughs 
The fruit dropt noiseless through the autumn night, 
I gave a quick, low cry, as infants do : 
We weep when we are born, not when we die ! 
So was it destined ; and thus came I here, 
To walk the earth and wear the form of Man, 
To suffer bravely as becomes my state, 
One step, one grade, one cycle nearer God. 

And knowing these things, can I stoop to fret, 
And lie, and haggle in the market-place, 
Give dross for dross, or everything for naught ? 
No ! let me sit above the crowd, and sing, 
Waiting with hope for that miraculous change 
Which seems like sleep; and though I waiting 

starve, 

I cannot kiss the idols that are set 
By every gate, in every street and park ; 
I cannot fawn, I cannot soil my soul ; 
For I am of the mountains and the sea, 
The deserts, and the caverns in the earth, 
The catacombs and fragments of old worlds. 



34. BAYARD TAYLOR 

BAYARD TAYLOR 

IN other years lost youth's enchanted years, 

Seen now, and evermore, through blinding tears 

And empty longing for what may not be 

The Desert gave him back to us ; the Sea 

Yielded him up ; the icy Norland strand 

Lured him not long, nor that soft German air 

He loved could keep him. Ever his own land 

Fettered his heart and brought him back again. 

What sounds are these of farewell and despair 

Borne on the winds across the wintry main ! 

What unknown way is this that he has gone, 

Our Bayard, in such silence and alone ? 

What dark new quest has tempted him once more 

To leave us ? Vainly, standing by the shore, 

We strain our eyes. But patience ! When the soft 

Spring gales are blowing over Cedarcroft, 

Whitening the hawthorn ; when the violets bloom 

Along the Brandywine, and overhead 

The sky is blue as Italy's, he will come . . . 

In the wind's whisper, in the swaying pine, 

In song of bird and blossoming of vine, 

And all fair things he loved ere he was dead ! 



INTERLUDES 



HESPERIDES 

IF thy soul, Herrick, dwelt with me, 
This is what my songs would be : 
Hints of our sea-breezes, blent 
With odors from the Orient ; 
Indian vessels deep with spice ; 
Star-showers from the Norland ice ; 
Wine-red jewels that seem to hold 
Fire, but only burn with cold ; 
Antique goblets, strangely wrought, 
Filled with the wine of happy thought, 
Bridal measures, vain regrets, 
Laburnum buds and violets ; 
Hopeful as the break of day ; 
Clear as crystal ; new as May ; 
Musical as brooks that run 
O'er yellow shallows in the sun ; 
Soft as the satin fringe that shades 
The eyelids of thy Devon maids ; 
Brief as thy lyrics, Herrick, are, 
And polished as the bosom of a star. 

35 



36 INTERLUDES 

BEFORE THE RAIN 

WE knew it would rain, for all the morn, 
A spirit on slender ropes of mist 

Was lowering its golden buckets down 
Into the vapory amethyst 

Of marshes and swamps and dismal fens 
Scooping the dew that lay in the flowers, 

Dipping the jewels out of the sea, 

To scatter them over the land in showers. 

We knew it would rain, for the poplars showed 
The white of their leaves, the amber grain 

Shrunk in the wind and the lightning now 
Is tangled in tremulous skeins of rain ! 



AFTER THE RAIN 

THE rain has ceased, and in my room 
The sunshine pours an airy flood ; 
And on the church's dizzy vane 
The ancient Cross is bathed in blood. 

From out the dripping ivy-leaves, 
Antiquely carven, gray and high, 



INTERLUDES 37 

A dormer, facing westward, looks 
Upon the village like an eye. 

And now it glimmers in the sun, 
A square of gold, a disk, a speck: 
And in the belfry sits a Dove 
With purple ripples on her neck. 



A SNOWFLAKE 

ONCE he sang of summer, 
Nothing but the summer ; 
Now he sings of winter, 
Of winter bleak and drear : 
Just because there 's fallen 
A snowflake on his forehead 
He must go and fancy 
'T is winter all the year ! 



FROST-WORK 

THESE winter nights, against my window-pane 
Nature with busy pencil draws designs 
Of ferns and blossoms and fine spray of pines, 
Oak-leaf and acorn and fantastic vines, 



38 INTERLUDES 

Which she will shape when summer comes again 
Quaint arabesques in argent, flat and cold, 
Like curious Chinese etchings. ... By and by 
(I in my leafy garden as of old) 
These frosty fantasies shall charm my eye 
In azure, damask, emerald, and gold. 



THE ONE WHITE ROSE 

"n. 

A SORROWFUL woman said to me, 
" Come in and look on our child." 
I saw an Angel at shut of day, 
And it never spoke but smiled. 

I think of it in the city's streets, 
I dream of it when I rest 
The violet eyes, the waxen hands, 
And the one white rose on the breast ! 



LANDSCAPE 

GAUNT shadows stretch along the hill 
Cold clouds drift slowly west ; 
Soft flocks of vagrant snowflakes fill 
The redwing's frozen nest. 



INTERLUDES 

By sunken reefs the hoarse sea roars ; 
Above the shelving sands, 
Like skeletons the sycamores 
Uplift their wasted hands. 

The air is full of hints of grief, 
Faint voices touched with pain 
The pathos of the falling leaf 
And rustling of the rain. 

In yonder cottage shines a light, 
Far-gleaming like a gem 
Not fairer to the Rabbins' sight 
Was star of Bethlehem ! 



NOCTURNE 

UP to her chamber window 
A slight wire trellis goes, 
And up this Romeo's ladder 
Clambers a bold white rose. 

I lounge in the ilex shadows, 
I see the lady lean, 
Unclasping her silken girdle, 
The curtain's folds betv/een. 



40 INTERLUDES 

She smiles on her white-rose lover. 

. ' 

She reaches out her hand 

And helps him in at the window 

I see it where I stand ! 

To her scarlet lip she holds him, 
And kisses him many a time 
Ah, me ! it was he that won her 
Because he dared to climb ! 



APPRECIATION 

To the sea-shell's spiral round 
'T is your heart that brings the sound i 
The soft sea-murmurs that you hear 
Within, are captured from your ear. 

You do poets and their song 

A grievous wrong, 

If your own soul does not bring 

To their high imagining 

As much beauty as they sing. 



INTERLUDES 41 



PALABRAS CARINOSAS 

(SPANISH AIR) 

GOOD-NIGHT ! I have to say good-night 
To such a host of peerless things J 
Good-night unto the slender hand 
All queenly with its weight of rings ; 
Good-night to fond, uplifted eyes, 
Good-night to chestnut braids of hair, 
Good-night unto the perfect mouth, 
And all the sweetness nestled there 
The snowy hand detains me, then 
I '11 have to say Good-night again ! 

But there will come a time, my love, 

When, if I read our stars aright, 

I shall not linger by this porch 

With my farewells. Till then, good-night ! 

You wish the time were now ? And I. 

You do not blush to wish it so ? 

You would have blushed yourself to death 

To own so much a year ago 

What, both these snowy hands ! ah, then 
I '11 have to say Good-night again ! 



42 INTERLUDES 

APPARITIONS 

AT noon of night, and at the night's pale end, 
Such things have chanced to me 

As one, by day, would scarcely tell a friend 
For fear of mockery. 

Shadows, you say, mirages of the brain ! 

I know not, faith, not I. 
Is it more strange the dead should walk again 

Than that the quick should die ? 



UNSUNG 

As sweet as the breath that goes 
From the lips of the blown rose, 
As weird as the elfin lights 
That glimmer of frosty nights, 
As wild as the winds that tear 
The curled red leaf in the air, 
Is the song I have never sung. 

In slumber, a hundred times 
I have said the mystic rhymes, 



INTERLUDES 43 

But ere I open my eyes 

This ghost of a poem flies; 

Of the interfluent strains 

Not even a note remains : 

I know by my pulses' beat 

It was something wild and sweet, 

And my heart is deeply stirred 

By an unremembered word ! 

I strive, but I strive in vain, 
To recall the lost refrain. 
On some miraculous day 
Perhaps it will come and stay ; 
In some unimagined Spring 
I may find my voice, and sing 
The song I have never sung. 



AN UNTIMELY THOUGHT 

I WONDER what day of the week, 
I wonder what month of the year 
Will it be midnight, or morning, 
And who will bend over my bier ? . . 

What a hideous fancy to come 
As I wait at the foot of the stair, 



44 INTERLUDES 

While she gives the last touch to her robe, 
Or sets the white rose in her hair. 



As the carriage rolls down the dark street 
The little wife laughs and makes cheer 
But ... I wonder what day of the week, 
I wonder what month of the year. 



ONE WOMAN 

THOU listenest to us with unheeding ear ; 
Alike to thee our censure and our praise : 
Thou hearest voices that w r e may not hear ; 
Thou livest only in thy yesterdays. 

We see thee move, erect and pale and brave ; 
Soft words are thine, sweet deeds, and gracious 

will ; 

Yet thou art dead as any in the grave 
Only thy presence lingers with us still. 

With others, joy and sorrow seem to slip 
Like light and shade, and laughter kills regret ; 
But thou the fugitive tremor of thy lip 
Lays bare thy secret thou canst not forget ! 



INTERLUDES 45 

REALISM 

ROMANCE beside his unstrung lute 

Lies stricken mute. 
The old-time fire, the antique grace, 
You will not find them anywhere. 
To-day we breathe a commonplace, 
Polemic, scientific air : 
We strip Illusion of her veil ; 
We vivisect the nightingale 
To probe the secret of his note. 
The Muse in alien ways remote 

Goes wandering. 



DISCIPLINE 

IN the crypt at the foot of the stairs 
They lay there, a score of the Dead : 
They could hear the priest at his prayers, 
And the litany overhead. 

They knew when the great crowd stirred 
As the Host was lifted on high ; 
And they smiled in the dark when they heard 
Some light-footed nun trip by. 



46 INTERLUDES 

Side by side on their shelves 

For years and years they lay ; 

And those who misbehaved themselves 

Had their coffin-plates taken away. 

Thus is the legend told 
In black-letter monkish rhyme, 
Explaining those plaques of gold 
That vanished from time to time 1 



DESTINY 

THREE roses, wan as moonlight and weighed 

down 

Each with its loveliness as with a crown, 
Drooped in a florist's window in a town. 

The first a lover bought. It lay at rest, 
Like flower on flower, that night, on Beauty's 
breast. 

The second rose, as virginal and fair, 
Shrunk in the tangles of a harlot's hair. 

The third, a widow, with new grief made wild, 
Shut in the icy palm of her dead child. 



INTERLUDES 47 

NAMELESS PAIN 

IN my nostrils the summer wind 
Blows the exquisite scent of the rose : 
Oh for the golden, golden wind, 
Breaking the buds as it goes ! 
Breaking the buds and bending the grass, 
And spilling the scent of the rose. 

wind of the summer morn, 
Tearing the petals in twain, 
Wafting the fragrant soul 

Of the rose through valley and plain, 

1 would you could tear my heart to-day 
And scatter its nameless pain ! 



HEREDITY 

A SOLDIER of the Cromwell stamp, 
With sword and psalm-book by his side, 
At home alike in church and camp : 
Austere he lived, and smileless died. 

But she, a creature soft and fine 

From Spain, some say, some say from France ; 



48 INTERLUDES 

Within her veins leapt blood like wine 
She led her Roundhead lord a dance ! 

In Grantham church they lie asleep ; 
Just where, the verger may not know. 
Strange that two hundred years should keep 
The old ancestral fires aglow ! 

In me these two have met again ; 
To each my nature owes a part : 
To one, the cool and reasoning brain, 
To one, the quick, unreasoning heart. 



IDENTITY 

SOMEWHERE in desolate wind-swept space 
In Twilight-land in No-man's-land 

Two hurrying Shapes met face to face, 
And bade each other stand. 

" And who are you ? ' cried one a-gape, 
Shuddering in the gloaming light. 

"I know not," said the second Shape, 
" I only died last night ! " 



INTERLUDES 49 

LYRICS AND EPICS 

I WOULD be the Lyric 
Ever on the lip, 
Rather than the Epic 
Memory lets slip. 
I would be the diamond 
At my lady's ear, 
Rather than the June-rose 
Worn but once a year. 



A WINTER PIECE 

Sous le voile qui vous protege, 
Defiant les regards jaloux, 
Si vous sortez par cette neige, 
Redoutez vos pieds andalous. 

THOPHILE GAUTIER 

BENEATH the heavy veil you wear, 
Shielded from jealous eyes you go ; 
But of your pretty feet have care 
If you should venture through the snow. 

Howe'er you tread, a tiny mould 
Betrays that light foot all the same ; 



50 INTERLUDES 

Upon this glistening, snowy fold 
At every step it signs your name. 

Thus guided, one might come too close 
Upon the slyly-hidden nest 
Where Psyche, with her cheek's cold rose, 
On Love's warm bosom lies at rest. 



KRISS KRINGLE 

(Written in a child's album) 

JUST as the moon was fading amid her misty rings, 
And every stocking was stuffed with childhood's 

precious things, 
Old Kriss Kringle looked round, and saw on the 

elm-tree bough, 

High-hung, an oriole's nest, silent and empty now. 
"Quite like a stocking," he laughed, "pinned up 

there on the tree ! 
Little I thought the birds expected a present from 

me!" 
Then old Kriss Kringle, who loves a joke as well 

as the best, 
Dropped a handful of flakes in the oriole's empty 

nest. 



INTERLUDES 5 1 

RENCONTRE 

TOILING across the Mer de Glace, 

I thought of, longed for thee ; 

What miles between us stretched, alas! 

What miles of land and sea ! 

My foe, undreamed of, at my side 
Stood suddenly, like Fate. 
For those who love, the world is wide, 
But not for those who hate. 



LOVE'S CALENDAR 

THE Summer comes and the Summer goes ; 
Wild-flowers are fringing the dusty lanes, 
The swallows go darting through fragrant rains, 

Then, all of a sudden it snows. 

Dear Heart, our lives so happily flow, 
So lightly we heed the flying hours, 
We only know Winter is gone by the flowers, 

We only know Winter is come by the snow. 



52 INTERLUDES 



LOST ART 



WHEN I was young and light of heart 
I made sad songs with easy art : 
Now I am sad, and no more young, 
My sorrow cannot find a tongue. 



ii 



Pray, Muses, since I may not sing 
Of Death or any grievous thing, 
Teach me some joyous strain, that I 
May mock my youth's hypocrisy 1 



CLOTH OF GOLD 



PROEM 



You ask us if by rule or no 
Our many-colored songs are wrought 
Upon the cunning loom of thought 
We weave our fancies, so and so. 



ii 



The busy shuttle comes and goes 
Across the rhymes, and deftly weaves 
A tissue out of autumn leaves, 
With here a thistle, there a rose. 



in 

With art and patience thus is made 
The poet's perfect Cloth of Gold : 
When woven so, nor moth nor mould 

Nor time can make its colors fade. 

53 



54 CLOTH OF GOLD 

AN ARAB WELCOME 

BECAUSE thou com'st, a weary guest, 
Unto my tent, I bid thee rest. 
This cruse of oil, this skin of wine, 
These tamarinds and dates are thine ; 
And while thou eatest, Medjid, there, 
Shall bathe the heated nostrils of thy mare. 

Illah il' Allah ! Even so 
An Arab chieftain treats a foe, 
Holds him as one without a fault 
Who breaks his bread and tastes his salt; 
And, in fair battle, strikes him dead 
With the same pleasure that he gives him bread. 



A TURKISH LEGEND 

A CERTAIN Pasha, dead these thousand years, 
Once from his harem fled in sudden tears, 

And had this sentence on the city's gate 
Deeply engraven, Only God is great. 

So those four words above the city's noise 
Hung like the accents of an angel's voice, 



CLOTH OF GOLD 55 

And evermore, from the high barbacan, 
Saluted each returning caravan. 

Lost is that city's glory. Every gust 
Lifts, with dead leaves, the unknown Pasha's 
dust. 

And all is ruin save one wrinkled gate 
Whereon is written, Only God is great. 



THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS 

KIND was my friend who, in the Eastern land, 
Remembered me with such a gracious hand, 
And sent this Moorish Crescent which has been 
Worn on the haughty bosom of a queen. 
No more it sinks and rises in unrest 
To the soft music of her heathen breast ; 
No barbarous chief shall bow before it more, 
No turbaned slave shall envy and adore. 

I place beside this relic of the Sun 

A Cross of Cedar brought from Lebanon, 

Once borne, perchance, by some pale monk who 

trod 

The desert to Jerusalem and his God. 
Here do they lie, two symbols of two creeds, 



56 CLOTH OF GOLD 

Each with deep meaning to our human needs, 

Both stained with blood, and sacred made by faith, 

By tears, and prayers, and martyrdom, and death. 

That for the Moslem is, but this for me. 

The waning Crescent lacks divinity : 

It gives me dreams of battles, and the woes 

Of women shut in dim seraglios. 

But when this Cross of simple wood I see, 

The Star of Bethlehem shines again for me, 

And glorious visions break upon my gloom 

The patient Christ, and Mary at the Tomb. 



THE UNFORGIVEN 

NEAR my bed, there, hangs the picture jewels could 
not buy from me : 

'Tis a Siren, a brown Siren, in her sea-weed dra- 
pery, 

Playing on a lute of amber, by the margin of a 
sea. 

In the east, the rose of morning seems as if 't would 

blossom soon, 
But it never, never blossoms, in this picture ; and 

the moon 
Never ceases to be crescent, and the June is always 

June, 



CLOTH OF GOLD 57 

And the heavy-branched banana never yields its 

creamy fruit ; 
In the citron-trees are nightingales forever stricken 

mute ; 
And the Siren sits, her fingers on the pulses of the 

lute. 

In the hushes of the midnight, when the heliotropes 
grow strong 

With the dampness, I hear music hear a quiet, 
plaintive song 

A most sad, melodious utterance, as of some im- 
mortal wrong ; 

Like the pleading, oft repeated, of a Soul that 

pleads in vain, 
Of a damned Soul repentant, that would fain be 

pure again ! 
And I lie awake and listen to the music of her 

pain. 

And whence comes this mournful music ? whence, 

unless it chance to be 
From the Siren, the brown Siren, in her sea-weed 

drapery, 
Playing on a lute of amber, by the margin of a 

sea. 



58 CLOTH OF GOLD 

DRESSING THE BRIDE 

A FRAGMENT 

So, after bath, the slave-girls brought 
The broidered raiment for her wear, 
The misty izar from Mosul, 
The pearls and opals for her hair, 
The slippers for her supple feet, 
(Two radiant crescent moons they were,) 
And lavender, and spikenard sweet, 
And attars, nedd, and richest musk. 
When they had finished dressing her, 
(The Eye of Dawn, the Heart's Desire !) 
Like one pale star against the dusk, 
A single diamond on her brow 
Trembled with its imprisoned fire. 



TWO SONGS FROM THE PERSIAN 



O CEASE, sweet music, let us rest ! 
Too soon the hateful light is born ; 
Henceforth let day be counted night, 
And midnight called the morn. 




"DRESSING THE BRIDE." L'ae .">*. 



CLOTH OF GOLD 59 

O cease, sweet music, let us rest ! 
A tearful, languid spirit lies, 
Like the dim scent in violets, 
In beauty's gentle eyes. 

There is a sadness in sweet sound 
That quickens tears. O music, lest 
We weep with thy strange sorrow, cease ! 
Be still, and let us rest. 



ii 

Ah ! sad are they who know not love, 
But, far from passion's tears and smiles, 
Drift down a moonless sea, beyond 
The silvery coasts of fairy isles. 

And sadder they whose longing lips 
Kiss empty air, and never touch 
The dear warm mouth of those they love 
Waiting, wasting, suffering much. 

But clear as amber, fine as musk, 
Is life to those who, pilgrim-wise, 
Move hand in hand from dawn to dusk, 
Each morning nearer Paradise. 

Oh, not for them shall angels pray ! 
They stand in everlasting light, 



60 CLOTH OF GOLD 

They walk in Allah's smile by day, 
And slumber in his heart by night. 



TIGER-LILIES 

I LIKE not lady-slippers, 
Nor yet the sweet-pea blossoms, 
Nor yet the flaky roses, 
Red, or white as snow ; 
I like the chaliced lilies, 
The heavy Eastern lilies, 
The gorgeous tiger-lilies, 
That in our garden grow. 

For they are tall and slender ; 

Their mouths are dashed with carmine ; 

And when the wind sweeps by them, 

On their emerald stalks 

They bend so proud and graceful 

They are Circassian women, 

The favorites of the Sultan, 

Adown our garden walks. 

And when the rain is falling, 
I sit beside the window 
And watch them glow and glisten, 
How they burn and glow ! 



CLOTH OF GOLD 61 

Oh for the burning lilies, 
The tender Eastern lilies, 
The gorgeous tiger-lilies, 
That in our garden grow ! 



THE SULTANA 

IN the draperies' purple gloom, 
In the gilded chamber she stands, 
I catch a glimpse of her bosom's bloom, 
And the white of her jewelled hands. 

Each wandering wind that blows 

By the lattice, seems to bear 

From her parted lips the scent of the rose, 

And the jasmine from her hair. 

Her dark-browed odalisques lean 

To the fountain's feathery rain, 

And a paroquet, by the broidered screen, 

Dangles its silvery chain. 

But pallid, luminous, cold, 
Like a phantom she fills the place, 
Sick to the heart, in that cage of gold, 
With her sumptuous disgrace. 



62 CLOTH OF GOLD 

THE WORLD'S WAY 

AT Haroun's court it chanced, upon a time, 
An Arab poet made this pleasant rhyme : 

"The new moon is a horseshoe, wrought of 

God, 
Wherewith the Sultan's stallion shall be shod." 

On hearing this, the Sultan smiled, and gave 
The man a gold-piece. Sing again, O slave ! 

Above his lute the happy singer bent, 
And turned another gracious compliment. 

And, as before, the smiling Sultan gave 
The man a sekkah. Sing again, O slave/ 

Again the verse came, fluent as a rill 
That wanders, silver-footed, down a hill. 

The Sultan, listening, nodded as before, 
Still gave the gold, and still demanded more. 

The nimble fancy that had climbed so high 
Grew weary with its climbing by and by : 



CLOTH OF GOLD 63 

Strange discords rose ; the sense went quite 

amiss ; 
The singer's rhymes refused to meet and kiss : 

Invention flagged, the lute had got unstrung, 
And twice he sang the song already sung. 

The Sultan, furious, called a mute, and said, 
O Musta, straightway whip me off his head ! 

Poets ! not in Arabia alone 

You get beheaded when your skill is gone. 



LATAKIA 



WHEN all the panes are hung with frost, 
Wild wizard-work of silver lace, 
I draw my sofa on the rug 
Before the ancient chimney-place. 
Upon the painted tiles are mosques 
And minarets, and here and there 
A blind muezzin lifts his hands 
And calls the faithful unto prayer. 
Folded in idle, twilight dreams, 



64 CLOTH OF GOLD 

I hear the hemlock chirp and sing 

As if within its ruddy core 

It held the happy heart of Spring. 

Ferdousi never sang like that, 

Nor Saadi grave, nor Hafiz gay : 

I lounge, and blow white rings of smoke, 

And watch them rise and float away. 



ii 

The curling wreaths like turbans seem 
Of silent slaves that come and go 
Or Viziers, packed with craft and crime, 
Whom I behead from time to time, 
With pipe-stem, at a single blow. 

And now and then a lingering cloud 
Takes gracious form at my desire, 
And at my side my lady stands, 
Unwinds her veil with snowy hands 
A shadowy shape, a breath of fire ! 

O Love, if you were only here 
Beside me in this mellow light, 
Though all the bitter winds should blow, 
And all the ways be choked with snow, 
'T would be a true Arabian night ! 



CLOTH OF GOLD 65 

WHEN THE SULTAN GOES TO ISPAHAN 

WHEN the Sultan Shah-Zaman 

Goes to the city Ispahan, 

Even before lie gets so far 

As the place where the clustered palm-trees 

are, 

At the last of the thirty palace-gates, 
The flower of the harem, Rose-in-Bloom, 
Orders a feast in his favorite room 
Glittering squares of colored ice, 
Sweetened with syrop, tinctured with spice, 
Creams, and cordials, and sugared dates, 
Syrian apples, Othmanee quinces, 
Limes, and citrons, and apricots, 
And wines that are known to Eastern princes ; 
And Nubian slaves, with smoking pots 
Of spiced meats and costliest fish 
And all that the curious palate could wish, 

Pass in and out of the cedarn doors ; 

* 

Scattered over mosaic floors 
Are anemones, myrtles, and violets, 
And a musical fountain throws its jets 
Of a hundred colors into the air. 
The dusk Sultana loosens her hair, 
And stains with the henna-plant the tips 
Of her pointed nails, and bites her lips 



66 CLOTH OF GOLD 

Till they bloom again ; but, alas, that rose 
Not for the Sultan buds and blows, 
Not for the Sultan Shah-Zaman ^ 
When he goes to the city Ispahan. 

Then at a wave of her sunny hand 
The dancing-girls of Samarcand 
Glide in like shapes from fairy-land, 
Making a sudden mist in air 
Of fleecy veils and floating hair 
And white arms lifted. Orient blood 
Runs in their veins, shines in their eyes. 
And there, in this Eastern Paradise, 
Filled with the breath of sandal-wood, 
And Khoten musk, and aloes and myrrh, 
Sits Rose-in-Bloom on a silk divan, 
Sipping the wines of Astrakhan ; 
And her Arab lover sits with her. 
That 'j when the Sultan Shah-Zaman 
Goes to the city Ispahan. 

< 

Now, when I see an extra light, 

Flaming, flickering on the night 
From my neighbor's casement opposite, 
I know as well as I know to pray, 
I know as well as a tongue can say, 
That the innocent Sultan Shah-Zaman 
Has gone to the city Ispahan. 







"WHEN THE SULTAN GOES TO ISPAHAN." Page GG. 



CLOTH OF GOLD 67 

A PRELUDE 

HASSAN BEN ABDUL at the Ivory Gate 

Of Bagdad sat and chattered in the sun, 

Like any magpie chattered to himself 

And four lank, swarthy Arab boys that stopped 

A gambling game with peach-pits, and drew near. 

Then Iman Khan, the friend of thirsty souls, 

The seller of pure water, ceased his cry, 

And placed his water-skins against the gate 

They looked so like him, with their sallow cheeks 

Puffed out like Iman's. Then a eunuch came 

And swung a pack of sweetmeats from his head, 

And stood a hideous pagan cut in jet. 

And then a Jew, whose sandal-straps were red 

With desert-dust, limped, cringing, to the crowd \ 

He, too, would listen ; and close after him 

A jeweller that glittered like his shop. 

Then two blind mendicants, who wished to go 

Six diverse ways at once, came stumbling by, 

But hearing Hassan chatter, sat them down. 

And if the Khalif had been riding near, 

He would have paused to listen like the rest, 

For Hassan's fame was ripe in all the East. 

From white-walled Cairo to far Ispahan, 

From Mecca to Damascus, he was known, 

Hassan, the Arab with the Singing Heart. 



68 CLOTH OF GOLD 

His songs were sung by boatmen on the Nile, 
By Beddowee maidens, and in Tartar camps, 
While all men loved him as they loved their eyes ; 
And when he spake, the wisest, next to him, 
Was he who listened. And thus Hassan sung. 
And I, a stranger lingering in Bagdad, 
Half English and half Arab, by my beard ! 
Caught at the gilded epic as it grew, 
And for my Christian brothers wrote it down. 



TO HAFIZ 

THOUGH gifts like thine the fates gave not to 

me, 

One thing, O Hafiz, we both hold in fee 
Nay, it holds us ; for when the June wind blows 
We both are slaves and lovers to the rose. 
In vain the pale Circassian lily shows 
Her face at her green lattice, and in vain 
The violet beckons, with unveiled face 
The bosom's white, the lip's light purple stain, 
These touch our liking, yet no passion stir. 
But when the rose comes, Hafiz in that place 
Where she stands smiling, we kneel down to 

her! 



CLOTH OF GOLD 69 

AT NIJNII-NOVGOROD 

" A CRAFTY Persian set this stone ; 

A dusk Sultana wore it ; 
And from her slender finger, sir, 
A ruthless Arab tore it. 

" A ruby, like a drop of blood 
That deep-in tint that lingers 
And seems to melt, perchance was caught 
From those poor mangled fingers ! 

" A spendthrift got it from the knave, 

And tossed it, like a blossom, 
That night into a dancing-girl's 
Accurst and balmy bosom. 

"And so it went. One day a Jew 

At Cairo chanced to spy it 
Amid a one-eyed peddler's pack, 
And did not care to buy it 

" Yet bought it all the same. You see, 

The Jew he knew a jewel. 
He bought it cheap to sell it dear : 
The ways of trade are cruel. 



70 CLOTH OF GOLD 

" But I - - be Allah's all the praise ! 

Such avarice, I scoff it ! 
If I buy cheap, why, I sell cheap, 
Content with modest profit. 

"This ring such chasing! look, milord, 

What workmanship ! By Heaven, 
The price I name you makes the thing 
As if the thing were given ! 

" A stone without a flaw ! A queen 

Might not disdain to wear it. 
Three hundred roubles buys the stone ; 
No kopeck less, I swear it ! ' 

Thus Hassan, holding up the ring 

To me, no eager buyer. 
A hundred roubles was not much 

To pay so sweet a liar ! 



THE LAMENT OF EL MOULOK 

WITHIN the sacred precincts of the mosque, 
Even on the very steps of St. Sophia, 
He lifted up his voice and spoke these words, 
El Moulok, who sang naught but love-songs once, 
And now was crazed because his son was dead : 



CLOTH OF GOLD 71 

O ye who leave 

Your slippers at the portal, as is meet, 

Give heed an instant ere ye bow in prayer. 

Ages ago, 

Allah, grown weary of His myriad worlds, 
Would one star more to hang against the blue. 

Then of men's bones, 

Millions on millions, did He build the earth ; 

Of women's tears, 

Down falling through the night, He made the sea ; 

Of sighs and sobs 

He made the winds that surge about the globe. 

Where'er ye tread, 

Ye tread on dust that once was living man. 

The mist and rain 

Are tears that first from human eyelids fell. 

The unseen winds 

Breathe endless lamentation for the dead. 

Not so the ancient tablets told the tale, 
Not so the Koran ! This was blasphemy, 



72 CLOTH OF GOLD 

And they that heard El Moulok dragged him thence, 
Even from the very steps of St. Sophia, 
And loaded him with triple chains of steel, 
And cast him in a dungeon. 

None the less 

Do women's tears fall ceaseless day and night, 
And none the less do mortals faint and die 
And turn to dust ; and every wind that blows 
About the globe seems heavy with the grief 
Of those who sorrow, or have sorrowed, here. 
Yet none the less is Allah the Most High, 
The Clement, the Compassionate. He sees 
Where we are blind, and hallowed be His Name ! 



NOURMADEE 

THE POET MIRTZY MOHAMMED-ALI TO HIS FRIEND 
ABOU-HASSEM IN ALGEZIRAS 

O HASSEM, greeting ! Peace be thine ! 
With thee and thine be all things well ! 
Give refuge to these words of mine. 
The strange mischance which late befell 
Thy servant must have reached thine ear; 
Rumor has flung it far and wide, 
With dark additions, as I hear. 



CLOTH OF GOLD 73 

When They-Say speaks, what ills betide ! 
So lend no credence, O my Friend, 
To scandals, fattening as they fly. 
Love signs and seals the roll I send : 
Read thou the truth with lenient eye. 



IN Yiissuf's garden at Tangier 
This happened. In his cool kiosk 
We sat partaking of his cheer 
Thou know'st that garden by the Mosque 
Of Irma j stately palms are there, 
And silver fish in marble tanks, 
And scents of jasmine in the air 
We sat and feasted, with due thanks 
To Allah, till the pipes were brought ; 
And no one spoke, for Pleasure laid 
Her finger on the lips of Thought. 
Then, on a sudden, came a maid, 
With tambourine, to dance for us 
Allah il' Allah ! it was she, 
The slave-girl from the Bosphorus 
That Yiissuf purchased recently. 

Long narrow eyes, as black as black ! 
And melting, like the stars in June ; 
Tresses of night drawn smoothly back 
From eyebrows like the crescent moon. 
She paused an instant with bowed head, 



74 CLOTH OF GOLD 

Then, at a motion of her wrist, 

A veil of gossamer outspread 

And wrapped her in a silver mist. 

Her tunic was of Tiflis green 

Shot through with many a starry speck ; 

The zone that clasped it might have been 

A collar for a cygnet's neck. 

None of the thirty charms she lacked 

Demanded for perfection's grace ; 

Charm upon charm in her was packed 

Like rose leaves in a costly vase. 

Full in the lanterns' colored light 

She seemed a thing of Paradise. 

I knew not if I saw aright, 

Or if my vision told me lies. 

Those lanterns spread a cheating glare ; 

Such stains they threw from bough and vine 

As if the slave-boys, here and there, 

Had spilled a jar of brilliant wine. 

And then the fountain's drowsy fall, 

The burning aloes' heavy scent, 

The night, the place, the hour they all 

Were full of subtle blandishment. 

Much had I heard of Nourmadee 
The name of this fair slenderness 
Whom Yiissuf kept with lock and key 
Because her beauty wrought distress 
In all men's hearts that gazed on it ; 



CLOTH OF GOLD 75 

And much I marvelled why, this night, 

Yiissuf should have the little wit 

To lift her veil for our delight. 

For though the other guests were old 

Grave, worthy merchants, three from Fez 

(These mostly dealt in dyes and gold), 

Cloth merchants two, from Meki'nez 

Though they were old and gray and dry, 

Forgetful of their youth's desires, 

My case was different, for I 

Still knew the touch of springtime fires. 

And straightway as I looked on her 

I bit my lip, grew ill at ease, 

And in my veins was that strange stir 

Which clothes with bloom the almond-trees. 

O Shape of blended fire and snow ! 
Each clime to her some spell had lent 
The North her cold, the South her glow, 
Her languors all the Orient. 
Her scarf was as the cloudy fleece 
The moon draws round its loveliness, 
That so its beauty may increase 
The more in being seen the less. 
And as she moved, and seemed to float 
So floats a swan ! in sweet unrest, 
A string of sequins at her throat 
Went clink and clink against her breast 
And what did some birth-fairy do 



76 CLOTH OF GOLD 

But set a mole, a golden dot, 

Close to her lip to pierce men through ! 

How could I look and love her not ? 

Yet heavy was my heart as stone, 
For well I knew that love was vain ; 
To love the thing one may not own ! 
I saw how all my peace was slain. 
Coffers of ingots Yiissuf had, 
Houses on land, and ships at sea, 
And I alas ! was I gone mad, 
To cast my eyes on Nourmadee ! 
I strove to thrust her from my mind, 
I bent my brows, and turned away, 
And wished that Fate had struck me blind 
Ere I had come to know that day. 
I fixed my thoughts on this and that ; 
Assessed the worth of Yiissuf 's ring ; 
Counted the colors in the mat 
And then a bird began to sing, 
A bulbul hidden in a bough. 
From time to time it loosed a strain 
Of moonlit magic that, somehow, 
Brought solace to my troubled brain. 

But when the girl once, creeping close, 
Half stooped, and looked me in the face, 
My reason fled, and I arose 
And cried to Yiissuf, from my place : 



CLOTH OF GOLD 77 

" O Yussuf, give to me this girl ! 
You are so rich and I so poor ! 
You would not miss one little pearl 
Like that from out your countless store ! >: 

" * This girl ' ? What girl ? No girl is here ! " 
Cried Yussuf with his eyes agleam ; 

" Now, by the Prophet, it is clear 
Our friend has had a pleasant dream ! " 
(And then it seems that I awoke, 
And stared around, no little dazed 
At finding naught of what I spoke : 
Each guest sat silent and amazed.) 

Then Yussuf of all mortal men 
This Yussuf has a mocking tongue ! 
Stood at my side, and spoke again : 
" O Mirtzy, I too once was young. 
With mandolin or dulcimer 
I Ve waited many a midnight through, 
Content to catch one glimpse of Her, 
And have my turban drenched with dew. 
By Her I mean some slim Malay, 
Some Andalusian with her fan 
(For I have travelled in my day), 
Or some swart beauty of Soudan. 
No Barmecide was I to fare 
On fancy's shadowy wine and meat ; 
No phantom moulded out of air 
Had spells to lure me to her feet. 



78 CLOTH OF GOLD 

Mirtzy, be it understood 

1 blame you not. Your sin is slight ! 
You fled the world of flesh and blood, 
And loved a vision of the night ! 

o 

Sweeter than musk such visions be 
As come to poets when they sleep ! 
You dreamed you saw fair Nourmadee ? 
Go to ! it is a pearl I keep ! ' 

By Allah, but his touch was true ! 
And I was humbled to the dust 
That I in those grave merchants' view 
Should seem a thing no man might trust. 
For he of creeping things is least 
Who, while he breaks of friendship's bread, 
Betrays the giver of the feast. 

" Good friends, I 'm not that man ! " I said. 

" O Yiissuf, shut not Pardon's gate ! 
The words I spake I no wise meant. 
Who holds the threads of Time and Fate 
Sends dreams. I dreamt the dream he sent. 
I am as one that from a trance 
Awakes confused, and reasons ill ; 
The world of men invites his glance, 
The world of shadows claims him still. 
I see those lights among the leaves, 
Yourselves I see, sedate and wise, 
And yet some finer sense perceives 
A presence that eludes the eyes. 



CLOTH OF GOLD 79 

Of what is gone there seems to stay 
Some subtlety, to mock my pains : 
So, when a rose is borne away, 
The fragrance of the rose remains ! ' 
Then Yiissuf laughed, Abdallah leered, 
And Melik coughed behind his hand, 
And lean Ben-Auda stroked his beard 
As who should say, " We understand ! ' 
And though the fault was none of mine, 
As I explained and made appear, 
Since then I 've not been asked to dine 
In Yiissuf's garden at Tangier. 



FAREWELL, O Hassem ! Peace be thine ! 
With thee and thine be always Peace ! 
To virtue let thy steps incline, 
And may thy shadow not decrease ! 
Get wealth wealth makes the dullard's jest 
Seem witty where true wit falls flat ; 
Do good, for goodness still is best 
But then the Koran tells thee that. 
Know Patience here, and later Bliss ; 
Grow wise, trust woman, doubt not man ; 
And when thou dinest out - - mark this 
Beware of wines from Ispahan ! 



FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL 
BOOK ETC. 



FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 

A. D. 1200 

THE Friar Jerome, for some slight sin, 

Done in his youth, was struck with woe. 
"When I am dead," quoth Friar Jerome, 
" Surely, I think my soul will go 

Shuddering through the darkened spheres, 

Down to eternal fires below ! 

I shall not dare from that dread place 

To lift mine eyes to Jesus' face, 

Nor Mary's, as she sits adored 

At the feet of Christ the Lord. 

Alas ! December 's all too brief 

For me to hope to wipe away 

The memory of my sinful May ! ' 

And Friar Jerome was full of grief 

That April evening, as he lay 

On the straw pallet in his cell. 

He scarcely heard the curfew-bell 

81 



82 FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 

Calling the brotherhood to prayer ; 
But he arose, for 't was his care 
Nightly to feed the hungry poor 
That crowded to the Convent door. 

His choicest duty it had been : 
But this one night it weighed him down. 
" What work for an immortal soul, 
To feed and clothe some lazy clown ? 
Is there no action worth my mood, 
No deed of daring, high and pure, 
That shall, when I am dead, endure, 
A well-spring of perpetual good ? " 

And straight he thought of those great tomes 
With clamps of gold the Convent's boast 
How they endured, while kings and realms 
Passed into darkness and were lost ; 
How they had stood from age to age, 
Clad in their yellow vellum-mail, 
'Gainst which the Paynim's godless rage, 
The Vandal's fire, could naught avail : 
Though heathen sword-blows fell like hail, 
Though cities ran with Christian blood, 
Imperishable they had stood ! 
They did not seem like books to him, 
But Heroes, Martyrs, Saints themselves 
The things they told of, not mere books 
Ranged grimly on the oaken shelves. 




ki FRIAR JEROME." Page 8l>. 



FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 83 

To those dim alcoves, far withdrawn, 
He turned with measured steps and slow, 
Trimming his lantern as he went ; 
And there, among the shadows, bent 
Above one ponderous folio, 
With whose miraculous text were blent 
Seraphic faces : Angels, crowned 
With rings of melting amethyst ; 
Mute, patient Martyrs, cruelly bound 
To blazing fagots ; here and there, 
Some bold, serene Evangelist, 
Or Mary in her sunny hair ; 
And here and there from out the words 
A brilliant tropic bird took flight ; 
And through the margins many a vine 
Went wandering roses, red and white, 
Tulip, wind-flower, and columbine 
Blossomed. To his believing mind 
These things were real, and the wind, 
Blown through the mullioned window, took 
Scent from the lilies in the book. 

" Santa Maria ! " cried Friar Jerome, 
"Whatever man illumined this, 
Though he were steeped heart-deep in sin, 
Was worthy of unending bliss, 
And no doubt hath it ! Ah ! dear Lord, 
Might I so beautify Thy Word ! 
What sacristan, the convents through, 



84 FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 

Transcribes with such precision ? who 

Does such initials as I do ? 

Lo ! I will gird me to this work, 

And save me, ere the one chance slips. 

On smooth, clean parchment I '11 engross 

The Prophet's fell Apocalypse ; 

And as I write from day to day, 

Perchance my sins will pass away." 

So Friar Jerome began his Book. 
From break of dawn till curfew-chime 
He bent above the lengthening page, 
Like some rapt poet o'er his rhyme. 
He scarcely paused to tell his beads, 
Except at night ; and then he lay 
And tossed, unrestful, on the straw, 
Impatient for the coming day 
Working like one who feels, perchance, 
That, ere the longed-for goal be won, 
Ere Beauty bare her perfect breast, 
Black Death may pluck him from the sun. 
At intervals the busy brook, 
Turning the mill-wheel, caught his ear ; 
And through the grating of the cell 
He saw the honeysuckles peer, 
And knew 'twas summer, that the sheep 
In fragrant pastures lay asleep, 
And felt, that, somehow, God was near. 
In his green pulpit on the elm, 



FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 85 

The robin, abbot of that wood, 

Held forth by times ; and Friar Jerome 

Listened, and smiled, and understood. 

While summer wrapped the blissful land 
What joy it was to labor so, 
To see the long-tressed Angels grow 
Beneath the cunning of his hand, 
Vignette and tail-piece subtly wrought ! 
And little recked he of the poor 
That missed him at the Convent door ; 
Or, thinking of them, put the thought 
Aside. " I feed the souls of men 
Henceforth, and not their bodies ! " yet 
Their sharp, pinched features, now and then. 
Stole in between him and his Book, 
And filled him with a vague regret. 

Now on that region fell a blight : 
The grain grew cankered in its sheath ; 
And from the verdurous uplands rolled 
A sultry vapor fraught with death 
A poisonous mist, that, like a pall, 
Hung black and stagnant over all. 
Then came the sickness the malign, 
Green-spotted terror called the Pest, 
That took the light from loving eyes, 
And made the young bride's gentle breast 
A fatal pillow. Ah ! the woe, 



86 FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 

The crime, the madness that befell ! 
In one short night that vale became 
More foul than Dante's inmost hell. 
Men cursed their wives ; and mothers left 
Their nursing babes alone to die, 
And wantoned, singing, through the streets, 
With shameless brow and frenzied eye ; 
And senseless clowns, not fearing God 
Such power the spotted fever had 
Razed Cragwood Castle on the hill, 
Pillaged the wine-bins, and went mad. 
And evermore that dreadful pall 
Of mist hung stagnant over all : 
By day, a sickly light broke through 
The heated fog, on town and field ; 
By night, the moon, in anger, turned 
Against the earth its mottled shield. 

Then from the Convent, two and two, 
The Prior chanting at their head, 
The monks went forth to shrive the sick, 
And give the hungry grave its dead 
Only Jerome, he went not forth, 
But muttered in his dusty nook, 
"Let come what will, I must illume 
The last ten pages of my Book ! ' : 
He drew his stool before the desk, 
And sat him down, distraught and wan, 
To paint his daring masterpiece, 
The stately figure of Saint John. 



FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 87 

He sketched the head with pious care, 
Laid in the tint, when, powers of Grace ! 
He found a grinning Death's-head there, 
And not the grand Apostle's face ! 

Then up he rose with one long cry : 
"'Tis Satan's self does this," cried he, 
" Because I shut and barred my heart 
When Thou didst loudest call to me ! 

Lord, Thou know'st the thoughts of men, 
Thou know'st that I did yearn to make 
Thy Word more lovely to the eyes 

Of sinful souls, for Christ his sake ! 
Nathless, I leave the task undone : 

1 give up all to follow Thee 
Even like him who gave his nets 
To winds and waves by Galilee ! >: 

Which said, he closed the precious Book 
In silence, with a reverent hand ; 
And drawing his cowl about his face 
Went forth into the stricken land. 
And there was joy in Heaven that day 
More joy o'er this forlorn old friar 
Than over fifty sinless men 
Who never struggled with desire ! 

What deeds he did in that dark town, 
What hearts he soothed with anguish torn r 



88 FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 

What weary ways of woe he trod, 
Are written in the Book of God, 
And shall be read at Judgment Morn. 
The weeks crept on, when, one still day. 
God's awful presence rilled the sky, 
And that black vapor floated by, 
And lo ! the sickness passed away. 
With silvery clang, by thorp and town, 
The bells made merry in their spires : 
O God ! to think the Pest is flown ! 
Men kissed each other on the street, 
And music piped to dancing feet 
The livelong night, by roaring fires ! 

Then Friar Jerome, a wasted shape 
For he had taken the Plague at last 
Rose up, and through the happy town, 
And through the w r intry woodlands, passed 
Into the Convent. What a gloom 
Sat brooding in each desolate room ! 
What silence in the corridor ! 
For of that long, in numerous train 
Which issued forth a month before 
Scarce twenty had come back again ! 

Counting his rosary step by step, 
With a forlorn and vacant air, 
Like some unshriven churchyard thing, 
The Friar crawled up the mouldy stair 



FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 89 

To his damp cell, that he might look 
Once more on his beloved Book. 

And there it lay upon the stand, 
Open ! he had not left it so. 
He grasped it, with a cry ; for, lo ! 
He saw that some angelic hand, 
While he was gone, had finished it ! 
There 'twas complete, as he had planned; 
There, at the end, stood jFtntS, writ 
And gilded as no man could do 
Not even that pious anchoret, 
Bilfrid, the wonderful, nor yet 
The miniatore Ethelwold, 
Nor Durham's Bishop, who of old 
(England still hoards the priceless leaves) 
Did the Four Gospels all in gold. 
And Friar Jerome nor spoke nor stirred, 
But, with his eyes fixed on that word, 
He passed from sin and want and scorn ; 
And suddenly the chapel-bells 
Rang in the holy Christmas-Morn. 

In those wild wars which racked the land 
Since then, and kingdoms rent in twain, 
The Friar's Beautiful Book was lost 
That miracle of hand and brain : 
Yet, though its leaves were torn and tossed, 
The volume was not writ in vain ! 



QO MIANTOWONA 

MIANTOWONA 



LONG ere the Pale Face 

Crossed the Great Water, 

Miantowona 

Passed, with her beauty, 

Into a legend 

Pure as a wild-flower 

Found in a broken 

Ledge by the seaside. 

Let us revere them 
These wildwood legends, 
Born of the camp-fire. 
Let them be handed 
Down to our children 
Richest of heirlooms. 
No land may claim them ? 
They are ours only, 
Like our grand rivers, 
Like our vast prairies, 
Like our dead heroes. 

ii 

In the pine-forest, 
Guarded by shadows, 



MIANTOWONA 91 

Lieth the haunted 
Pond of the Red Men. 
Ringed by the emerald 
Mountains, it lies there 
Like an untarnished 
Buckler of silver, 
Dropped in that valley 
By the Great Spirit ! 
Weird are the figures 
Traced on its margins 
Vine-work and leaf-work, 
Down-drooping fuchsias, 
Knots of sword-grasses, 
Moonlight and starlight, 
Clouds scudding northward. 
Sometimes an eagle 
Flutters across it ; 
Sometimes a single 
Star on its bosom 
Nestles till morning. 

Far in the ages, 

Miantowona, 

Rose of the Hurons, 

Came to these waters. 

Where the dank greensward 

Slopes to the pebbles, 

Miantowona 

Sat in her anguish. 



92 MIANTOWONA 

Ice to her maidens, 
Ice to the chieftains, 
Fire to her lover ! 
Here he had won her, 
Here they had parted, 
Here could her tears flow. 
With unwet eyelash, 
Miantowona 
Nursed her old father, 
Gray-eyed Tawanda, 
Oldest of Hurons, 
Soothed his complainings, 
Smiled when he chid her 
Vaguely for nothing 
He was so weak now, 
Like a shrunk cedar 
White with the hoar-frost. 
Sometimes she gently 
Linked arms with maidens, 
Joined in their dances : 
Not with her people, 
Not in the wigwam, 
Wept for her lover. 

Ah ! who was like him ? 
Fleet as an arrow, 
Strong as a bison, 
Lithe as a panther, 
Soft as the south- wind, 



MIANTOWONA 93 

Who was like Wawah ? 
There is one other 
Stronger and fleeter, 
Bearing no wampum, 
Wearing no war-paint, 
Ruler of councils, 
Chief of the war-path 
Who can gainsay him, 
Who can defy him ? 
His is the lightning, 
His is the whirlwind, 
Let us be humble, 
We are but ashes 
'T is the Great Spirit ! 

Ever at nightfall 
Miantowona 
Strayed from the lodges, 
Passed through the shadows 
Into the forest : 
There by the pond-side 
Spread her black tresses 
Over her forehead. 
Sad is the loon's cry 
Heard in the twilight ; 
Sad is the night-wind, 
Moaning and moaning ; 
Sadder the stifled 
Sob of a widow. 



94 MIANTOWONA 

Low on the pebbles 
Murmured the water : 
Often she fancied 
It was young Wawah 
Playing the reed-flute. 
Sometimes a dry branch 
Snapped in the forest : 
Then she rose, startled, 
Ruddy as sunrise, 
Warm for his coming ! 
But when he came not, 
Back through the darkness, 
Half broken-hearted, 
Miantowona 
Went to her people. 

When an old oak dies, 
First 't is the tree-tops, 
Then the low branches, 
Then the gaunt stem goes : 
So fell Tawanda, 
Oldest of Hurons, 
Chief of the chieftains. 

Miantowona 
Wept not, but softly 
Closed the sad eyelids ; 
With her own fingers 



MIANTOWONA 95 

Fastened the deer-skin 
Over his shoulders ; 
Then laid beside him 
Ash-bow and arrows, 
Pipe-bowl and wampum, 
Dried corn and bear-meat 
All that was needful 
On the long journey. 
Thus old Tawanda 
Went to the hunting 
Grounds of the Red Man. 
Then, as the dirges 
Rose from the village, 
Miantowona 

Stole from the mourners, 
Stole through the cornfields, 
Passed like a phantom 
Into the shadows 
Through the pine forest. 

One who had watched her 
It was Nahoho, 
Loving her vainly 
Saw, as she passed him, 
That in her features 
Made his stout heart quail. 
He could but follow. 
Quick were her footsteps, 



96 MIANTOWONA 

Light as a snowflake, 
Leaving no traces 
On the white clover. 

Like a trained runner, 
Winner of prizes, 
Into the woodlands 
Plunged the young chieftain. 
Once he abruptly 
Halted, and listened ; 
Then he sped forward 
Faster and faster 
Toward the bright water. 
Breathless he reached it. 
Why did he crouch then, 
Stark as a statue ? 
What did he see there 
Could so appa^ him ? 
Only a circle 
Swiftly expanding, 
Fading before him ; 
But, as he watched it, 
Up from the centre, 
Slowly, superbly, 
Rose a Pond-Lily. 

One cry of wonder, 
Shrill as the loon's call, 
Rang through the forest, 



MIANTOWONA 97 

Startling the silence, 
Startling the mourners 
Chanting the death-song. 
Forth from the village, 
Flocking together 
Came all the Hurons 
Striplings and warriors, 
Maidens and old men, 
Squaws with pappooses. 
No word was spoken : 
There stood the Hurons 
On the dank greensward, 
With their swart faces 
Bowed in the twilight. 
What did they see there ? 
Only a Lily 
Rocked on the azure 
Breast of the water. 

Then they turned sadly 

One to another, 

Tenderly murmuring, 
" Miantowona ! " 

Soft as the dew falls 

Down through the midnight, 

Cleaving the starlight, 

Echo repeated, 
" Miantowona ! " 



98 THE GUERDON 



THE GUERDON 

Vedder, this legend, if it had its due, 
Would not be sung by me, but told by you 
In colors such as Tintoretto knew. 

SOOTHED by the fountain's drowsy murmuring 
Or was it by the west-wind's indolent wing ? 
The grim court-poet fell asleep one day 
In the lords' chamber, when chance brought that 

way 

The Princess Margaret with a merry train 
Of damozels and ladies flippant, vain 
Court-butterflies midst whom fair Margaret 
Swayed like a rathe and slender lily set 
In rustling leaves, for all her drapery 
Was green and gold, and lovely as could be. 

Midway in hall the fountain rose and fell, 
Filling a listless Naiad's outstretched shell 
And weaving rainbows in the shifting light. 
Upon the carven friezes, left and right, 
Was pictured Pan asleep beside his reed. 
In this place all things seemed asleep, indeed 
The hook-billed parrot on his pendent ring, 
Sitting high-shouldered, half forgot to swing ; 
The wind scarce stirred the hangings at the door, 
And from the silken arras evermore 
Yawned drowsy dwarfs with satyr's face and hoof. 



THE GUERDON 99 

A forest of gold pillars propped the roof, 
And like one slim gold pillar overthrown, 
The sunlight through a great stained window shone 
And lay across the body of Alain. 
You would have thought, perchance, the man was 

slain : 

As if the checkered column in its fall 
Had caught and crushed him, he lay dead to all. 
The parrot's gray bead eye as good as said, 
Unclosing viciously, "The clown is dead." 
A dragon-fly in narrowing circles neared, 
And lit, secure, upon the dead man's beard, 
Then spread its iris vans in quick dismay, 
And into the blue summer sped away ! 

Little was his of outward grace to win 
The eyes of maids, but white the soul within. 
Misshaped, and hideous to look upon 
Was this man, dreaming in the noontide sun, 
With sunken eyes and winter-whitened hair 
And sallow cheeks deep seamed with thought and 

care. 

And so the laughing ladies of the court, * 
Coming upon him suddenly, stopped short, 
And shrunk together with a nameless dread : 
Some, but fear held them, would have turned and 

fled, 

Seeing the uncouth figure lying there. 
But Princess Margaret, with her heavy hair 



ioo THE GUERDON 

From out its diamond fillet rippling down, 
Slipped from the group, and plucking back her 

gown 

With white left hand, stole softly to his side 
The fair court gossips staring, curious-eyed, 
Half mockingly. A little while she stood, 
Finger on lip ; then, with the agile blood 
Climbing her cheek, and silken lashes wet 
She scarce knew what vague pity or regret 
Wet them she stooped, and for a moment's space 
Her golden tresses touched the sleeper's face. 
Then she stood straight, as lily on its stem, 
But hearing her ladies titter, turned on them 
Her great queen's eyes, gro\vn black with scornful 

frown 

Great eyes that looked the shallow women down. 
" Nay, not for love " one rosy palm she laid 
Softly against her bosom " as I 'm a maid ! 
Full well I know what cruel things you say 
Of this and that, but hold your peace to-day. 
I pray you think no evil thing of this. 
Nay, not for love's sake did I give the kiss, 
Not for his beauty w r ho 's nor fair nor young, 
But for the songs which those mute lips have 

sung." 

That was a right brave princess, one, I hold, 
Worthy to wear a crown of beaten gold. 



TITA'S TEARS 101 



TITA'S TEARS 

A FANTASY 

A CERTAIN man of Ischia it is thus 
The story runs one Lydus Claudius, 
After a life of threescore years and ten, 
Passed suddenly from out the sphere of men 
Into the sphere of phantoms. 

In a vale 

Where shoals of spirits against the moonlight pale 
Surged ever upward, in a wan-lit place 
Near heaven, he met a Presence face to face 
A figure like a carving on a spire, 
Shrouded in wings and with a fillet of fire 
About the brows who stayed him there, and said : 
" This the gods grant to thee, O newly dead ! 
Whatever thing on earth thou holdest dear 
Shall, at thy bidding, be transported here, 
Save wife or child, or any living thing." 
Then straightway Claudius fell to wondering 
What he should wish for. Having heaven at hand, 
His wants were few, as you can understand ; 
Riches and titles, matters dear to us, 
To him, of course, were now superfluous. 
But Tita, small brown Tita, his young wife, 
A two weeks' bride when he took leave of life, 
What would become of her without his care ? 



102 TITA'S TEARS 

Tita, so rich, so thoughtless, and so fair ! 

At present crushed with sorrow, to be sure 

But by and by ? What earthly griefs endure ? 

They pass like joys. A year, three years at most, 

And would she mourn her lord, so quickly lost? 

With fine, prophetic ear, he heard afar 

The tinkling of some horrible guitar 

Under her balcony. " Such thing could be," 

Sighed Claudius ; " I would she were with me, 

Safe from all harm." But as that wish was vain, 

He let it drift from out his troubled brain 

(His highly trained austerity was such 

That self-denial never cost him much), 

And strove to think what object he might name 

Most closely linked with the bereaved dame. 

Her wedding ring ? 't would be too small to 



wear ; 



Perhaps a ringlet of her raven hair ? 

If not, her portrait, done in cameo, 

Or on a background of pale gold ? But no, 

Such trifles jarred with his severity. 

At last he thought : " The thing most meet for me 

W r ould be that antique flask wherein my bride 

Let fall her heavy tears the night I died." 

(It was a custom of that simple day 

To have one's tears sealed up and laid away, 

As everlasting tokens of regret 

They find the bottles in Greek ruins yet.) 

For this he wished, then. 



A BALLAD 103 

Swifter than a thought 

The Presence vanished, and the flask was brought 
Slender, bell-mouthed, and painted all around 
With jet-black tulips on a saffron ground j 
A tiny jar, of porcelain if you will, 
Which twenty tears would rather more than fill. 
With careful fingers Claudius broke the seal 
When, suddenly, a well-known merry peal 
Of laughter leapt from out the vial's throat, 
And died, as dies the wood-bird's distant note. 
Claudius stared j then, struck with strangest fears, 
Reversed the flask 

Alas, for Tita's tears ! 



A BALLAD 

A. D. 1700 

BRETAGNE had not her peer. In the Province far 
or near 

There were never such brown tresses, such a fault- 
less hand ; 

She had youth, and she had gold, she had jewels 
all untold, 

And many a lover bold wooed the Lady of the 
Land. 



104 A BALLAD 

But she, with queenliest grace, bent low her pallid 

face, 
And " Woo me not, for Jesus' sake, fair gentlemen," 

she said. 
If they wooed, then with a frown she would strike 

their passion down : 
She might have wed a crown to the ringlets on her 

head. 

From the dizzy castle-tips, hour by hour she watched 
the ships, 

Like sheeted phantoms coming and going ever- 
more, 

While the twilight settled down on the sleepy sea- 
port town, 

On the gables peaked and brown, that had sheltered 
kings of yore. 

Dusky belts of cedar-wood partly clasped the widen- 
ing flood ; 

Like a knot of daisies lay the hamlets on the hill ; 

In the hostelry below sparks of light would come 
and go, 

And faint voices, strangely low, from the garrulous 
old mill. 

Here the land in grassy swells gently broke ; there 

sunk in dells 
With mosses green and purple, and prongs of rock 

and peat ; 



A BALLAD 105 

Here, in statue-like repose, an old wrinkled moun- 
tain rose, 

With its hoary head in snows, and wild roses at its 
feet. 

And so oft she sat alone in the turret of gray stone, 
And looked across the moorland, so woful, to the 

sea, 
That there grew a village-cry, how her cheek did 

lose its dye, 
As a ship, once, sailing by, faded on the sapphire 

lea. 

Her few walks led all one way, and all ended at 

the gray 
And ragged, jagged rocks that fringe the lonely 

beach ; 
There she would stand, the Sweet ! with the white 

surf at he feet, 
While above her wheeled the fleet sparrow-hawk 

with startling screech. 

And she ever loved the sea, with its haunting mys- 
tery, 

Its whispering weird voices, its never-ceasing roar : 

And 't was well that, when she died, they made her 
a grave beside 

The blue pulses of the tide, by the towers of Cas- 
telnore. 



io6 A BALLAD 

Now, one chill November dawn, many russet au- 
tumns gone, 

A strange ship with folded wings lay idly off the 
lea; 

It had lain throughout the night with its wings of 
murky white 

Folded, after weary flight the worn nursling of 
the sea. 

Crowds of peasants flocked the sands ; there were 

tears and clasping hands ; 
And a sailor from the ship stalked through the 

church-yard gate. 
Then amid the grass that crept, fading, over her 

who slept, 
How he hid his face and wept, crying, Late, too 

late ! too late ! 

And they called her cold. God knpws. . . . Under- 
neath the winter snows 

The invisible hearts of flowers grow ripe for blos- 
soming ! 

And the lives that look so cold, if their stones 
could be told, 

Would seem cast in gentler mould, would seem full 
of love and spring. 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 107 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 



LOOKING at Fra Gervasio, 
Wrinkled and withered and old and gray, 
A dry Franciscan from crown to toe, 
You would never imagine, by any chance, 
That, in the convent garden one day, 
He spun this thread of golden romance. 

Romance to me, but to him, indeed, 
'T was a matter that did not hold a doubt ; 
A miracle, nothing more nor less. 
Did I think it strange that, in our need, 
Leaning from Heaven to our distress, 
The Virgin brought such things about 
Gave mute things speech, made dead things 

move ? 

Mother of Mercy, Lady of Love ! 
Besides, I might, if I wished, behold 
The Bambino's self in his cloth of gold 
And silver tissue, lying in state 
In the Sacristy. Would the signor wait ? 

Whoever will go to Rome may see, 
In the chapel of the Sacristy 
Of Ara-Cceli, the Sainted Child 



io8 THE LEGEND OF ARA-OELI 

Garnished from throat to foot with rings 

And brooches and precious offerings, 

And its little nose kissed quite away 

By dying lips. At Epiphany, 

If the holy winter day prove mild, 

It is shown to the wondering, gaping crowd 

On the church's steps held high aloft 

While every sinful head is bowed, 

And the music plays, and the censers' soft 

White breath ascends like silent prayer. 

Many a beggar kneeling there, 
Tattered and hungry, without a home, 
Would not envy the Pope of Rome, 
If he, the beggar, had half the care 
Bestowed on him that falls to the share 
Of yonder Image for you must know 
It has its minions to come and go, 
Its perfumed chamber, remote and still, 
Its silken couch, and its jewelled throne, 
And a special carriage of its own 
To take the air in, when it will ; 
And though it may neither drink nor eat, 
By a nod to its ghostly seneschal 
It could have of the choicest wine and meat. 
Often some princess, brown and tall, 
Comes, and unclasping from her arm 
The glittering bracelet, leaves it, warm 
With her throbbing pulse, at the Baby's feet. 




LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI." Page 10S. 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-OELI 109 

Ah, he is loved by high and low, 

Adored alike by simple and wise. 

The people kneel to him in the street. 

What a felicitous lot is his 

To lie in the light of ladies' eyes, 

Petted and pampered, and never to know 

The want of a dozen soldi or so ! 

And what does he do for all of this ? 

What does the little Bambino do ? 

It cures the sick, and, in fact, 't is said 

Can almost bring life back to the dead. 

Who doubts it ? Not Fra Gervasio. 

When one falls ill, it is left alone 

For a while with one and the fever 's gone ! 

At least, 't was once so ; but to-day 
It is never permitted, unattended 
By monk or priest, to work its lure 
At sick folks' beds - - all that was ended 
By one poor soul whose feeble clay 
Satan tempted and made secure. 

It was touching this very point the friar 
Told me the legend, that afternoon, 
In the cloisteral garden all on fire 
With scarlet poppies and golden stalks. 
Here and there on the sunny walks, 
Startled by some slight sound we made, 
A lizard, awaking from its swoon, 



i io THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 

Shot like an arrow into the shade. 

I can hear the fountain's languorous tune, 

(How it comes back, that hour in June 

When just to exist was joy enough !) 

I can see the olives, silvery-gray, 

The carven masonry rich with stains, 

The gothic windows with lead-set panes, 

The flag-paved cortile, the convent grates, 

And Fra Gervasio holding his snuff 

In a squirrel-like meditative way 

'Twixt finger and thumb. But the Legend waits. 

ii 

It was long ago (so long ago 

That Fra Gervasio did not know 

What year of our Lord), there came to Rome 

Across the Campagna's flaming red, 

A certain Filippo and his wife 

Peasants, and very newly wed. 

In the happy spring and blossom of life, 

When the light heart chirrups to lovers' calls, 

These two, like a pair of birds, had come 

And built their nest 'gainst the city's walls. 

He, with his scanty garden-plots, 
Raised flowers and fruit for the market-place, 
Where she, with her pensile, flower-like face 
Own sister to her forget-me-nots 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI in 

Played merchant : and so they thrived apace, 
In humble content, with humble cares, 
And modest longings, till, unawares, 
Sorrow crept on them ; for to their nest 
Had come no little ones, and at last 
When six or seven summers had passed, 
Seeing no baby at her breast, 
The husband brooded, and then grew cold ; 
Scolded and fretted over this 
Who would tend them when they were old, 
And palsied, may be, sitting alone, 
Hungry, beside the cold hearth-stone ? 
Not to have children, like the rest! 
It cankered the very heart of bliss. 

Then he fell into indolent ways, 
Neglecting the garden for days and days, 
Playing at mora, drinking wine, 
With this and that one ^letting the vine 
Run riot and die for want of care, 
And the choke-weeds gather ; for it was spring, 
When everything needed nurturing. 
But he would drowse for hours in the sun, 
Or sit on the broken step by the shed, 
Like a man whose honest toil is done, 
Sullen, with never a word to spare, 
Or a word that were better all unsaid. 
And Nina, so light of thought before, 
Singing about the cottage door 



112 THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 

In her mountain dialect sang no more; 

But came and went, sad-faced and shy, 

Wishing, at times, that she might die, 

Brooding and fretting in her turn. 

Often, in passing along the street, 

Her basket of flowers poised, peasant-wise, 

On a lustrous braided coil of her hair, 

She would halt, and her dusky cheek would burn 

Like a poppy, beholding at her feet 

Some stray little urchin, dirty and bare. 

And sudden tears would spring to her eyes 

That the tiny waif was not her own, 

To fondle, and kiss, and teach to pray. 

Then she passed onward, making moan. 

Sometimes she would stand in the sunny square, 

Like a slim bronze statue of Despair, 

Watching the children at their play. 

In the broad piazza was a shrine, 
With Our Lady holding on her knee 
A small nude waxen effigy. 
Nina passed by it every day, 
And morn and even, in rain or shine, 
Repeated an ave there. " Divine 
Mother," she 'd cry, as she turned away, 
" Sitting in paradise, undefiled, 
Oh, have pity on my distress ! ' 
Then glancing back at the rosy Child, 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 113 

She would cry to it, in her helplessness, 
" Pray her to send the like to me ! ' ; 

Now once as she knelt before the saint, 
Lifting her hands in silent pain, 
She paled, and her heavy heart grew faint 
At a thought which flashed across her brain 
The blinding thought that, perhaps if she 
Had lived in the world's miraculous morn 
God might have chosen her to be 
The mother Oh, heavenly ecstasy ! 
Of the little babe in the manger born ! 
She, too, was a peasant girl, like her, 
The wife of the lowly carpenter ! 
Like Joseph's wife, a peasant girl ! 

Her strange little head was in a whirl 
As she rose from her knees to wander home, 
Leaving her basket at the shrine ; 
So dazed was she, she scarcely knew 
The old familiar streets of Rome, 
Nor whither she wished to go, in fine ; 
But wandered on, now crept, now flew, 
In the gathering twilight, till she came 
Breathless, bereft of sense and sight, 
To the gloomy Arch of Constantine, 
And there they found her, late that night, 
With her cheeks like snow and her lips like flame ! 



114 THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 

Many a time from day to day, 
She heard, as if in a troubled dream, 
Footsteps around her, and some one saying 
Was it Filippo ? " Is she dead ? " 
Then it was some one near her praying, 
And she was drifting drifting away 
From saints and martyrs in endless glory ! 
She seemed to be floating down a stream, 
Yet knew she was lying in her bed. 
The fancy held her that she had died, 
And this was her soul in purgatory, 
Until, one morning, two holy men 
From the convent came, and laid at her side 
The Bambino. Blessed Virgin ! then 
Nina looked up, and laughed, and wept, 
And folded it close to her heart, and slept. 

Slept such a soft, refreshing sleep, 
That when she awoke her eyes had taken 
The hyaline lustre, dewy, deep, 
Of violets when they first awaken ; 
And the half-unravelled, fragile thread 
Of life was knitted together again. 
But she shrunk with sudden, speechless pain, 
And seemed to droop like a flower, the day 
The Capuchins came, with solemn tread, 
To carry the Miracle Child away 1 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCEL1 115 



in 

Ere spring in the heart of pansies burned, 

Or the buttercup had loosed its gold, 

Nina was busy as ever of old 

With fireside cares ; but was not the same, 

For from the hour when she had turned 

To clasp the Image the fathers brought 

To her dying-bed, a single thought 

Had taken possession of her brain : 

A purpose, as steady as the flame 

Of a lamp in some cathedral crypt, 

Had lighted her on her bed of pain ; 

The thirst and the fever, they had slipped 

Away like visions, but this had stayed 

To have the Bambino brought again, 

To have it, and keep it for her own ! 

That was the secret dream which made 

Life for her now in the streets, alone, 

At night, and morning, and when she prayed. 

How should she wrest it from the hand 
Of the jealous Church ? How keep the Child ? 
Flee with it into some distant land 
Like mother Mary from Herod's ire ? 
Ah, well, she knew not ; she only knew 
It was written down in the Book of Fate 



n6 THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 

That she should have her heart's desire, 
And very soon now, for of late, 
In a dream, the little thing had smiled 
Up in her face, with one eye's blue 
Peering from underneath her breast, 
Which the baby fingers had softly pressed 
Aside, to look at her ! Holy one ! 
But that should happen ere all was done. 

Lying dark in the woman's mind 
Unknown, like a seed in fallow ground 
Was the germ of a plan, confused and blind 
At first, but which, as the weeks rolled round, 
Reached light, and flowered a subtile flower, 
Deadly as nightshade. In that same hour 
She sought the husband and said to him, 
With crafty tenderness in her eyes 
And treacherous archings of her brows, 
" Filippo mio, thou lov'st me well ? 
Truly ? Then get thee to the house 
Of the long-haired Jew Ben Raphaim 
Seller of curious tapestries, 
(Ah, he hath everything to sell !) 
The cunning carver of images 
And bid him to carve thee to the life 
A bambinetto like that they gave 
In my arms, to hold me from the grave 
When the fever pierced me like a knife. 
Perhaps, if we set the image there 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 117 

By the Cross, the saints would hear the prayer 
Which in all these years they have not heard." 

Then the husband went, without a word, 
To the crowded Ghetto ; for since the days 
Of Nina's illness the man had been 
A tender husband with lover's ways 
Striving, as best he might, to wean 
The wife from her sadness, and to bring 
Back to the home whence it had fled 
The happiness of that laughing spring 
When they, like a pair of birds, had wed. 

The image ! It was a woman's whim 
They were full of whims. But what to him 
Were a dozen pieces of silver spent, 
If it made her happy ? And so he went 
To the house of the Jew Ben Raphaim. 
And the carver heard, and bowed, and smiled, 
And fell to work as if he had known 
The thought that lay in the woman's brain, 
And somehow taken it for his own : 
For even before the month was flown 
He had carved a figure so like the Child 
Of Ara-Cceli, you 'd not have told, 
Had both been decked with jewel and chain 
And dressed alike in a dress of gold, 
Which was the true one of the twain. 



ii8 THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 

When Nina beheld it first, her heart 
Stood still with wonder. The skilful Jew 
Had given the eyes the tender blue, 
And the cheeks the delicate olive hue, 
And the form almost the curve and line 
Of the Image the good Apostle made 
Immortal with his miraculous art, 
What time the sculptor l dreamed in the shade 
Under the skies of Palestine. 
The bright new coins that clinked in the palm 
Of the carver in wood were blurred and dim 
Compared with the eyes that looked at him 
From the low sweet brows, so seeming calm ; 
Then he went his way, and her joy broke free, 
And Filippo smiled to hear Nina sing 
In the old, old fashion carolling 
Like a very thrush, with many a trill 
And long-drawn, flute-like, honeyed note, 
Till the birds in the farthest mulberry, 
Each outstretching its amber bill, 
Answered her with melodious throat. 

Thus sped two days ; but on the third 
Her singing ceased, and there came a change 
As of death on Nina ; her talk grew strange, 

1 According to a monastic legend, the Santissimo Bambino was 
carved by a pilgrim, out of a tree which grew on the Mount of 
Olives, and painted by St. Luke while the pilgrim was sleeping over 
his work. 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 119 

Then she sunk in a trance, nor spoke nor stirred ; 

And the husband, wringing his hands dismayed, 

Watched by the bed ; but she breathed no word 

That night, nor until the morning broke, 

When she roused from the spell, and feebly laid 

Her hand on Filippo's arm, and spoke : 

" Quickly, Filippo ! get thee gone 

To the holy fathers, and beg them send 

The Bambino hither " her cheeks were wan 

And her eyes like coals " Oh, go, my friend, 

Or all is said ! ' Through the morning's gray 

Filippo hurried, like one distraught, 

To the monks, and told his tale ; and they, 

Straight after matins, came and brought 

The Miracle Child, and went their way. 

Once more in her arms was the Infant laid, 
After these weary months, once more ! 
Yet the woman seemed like a thing of stone 
While the dark-robed fathers knelt and prayed ; 
But the instant the holy friars were gone 
She arose, and took the broidered gown 
From the Baby Christ, and the yellow crown 
And the votive brooches and rings it wore, 
Till the little figure, so gay before 
In its princely apparel, stood as bare 
As your ungloved hand. With tenderest care, 
At her feet, 'twixt blanket and counterpane. 
She hid the Babe ; and then, reaching down 



120 THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 

To the coffer wherein the thing had lain, 

Drew forth Ben Raphaim's manikin 

In haste, and dressed it in robe and crown, 

With lace and bauble and diamond-pin. 

This finished, she turned to stone again, 

And lay as one would have thought quite dead 

If it had not been for a spot of red 

Upon either cheek. At the close of day 

The Capuchins came, with solemn tread, 

And carried the false bambino away ! 

Over the vast Campagna's plain, 
At sunset, a wind began to blow 
(From the Apennines it came, they say), 
Softly at first, and then to grow 
As the twilight gathered and hurried by 
To a gale, with sudden tumultuous rain 
And thunder muttering far away. 
When the night was come, from the blackened 

sky 

The spear-tongued lightning slipped like a snake, 
And the great clouds clashed, and seemed to shake 
The earth to its centre. Then swept down 
Such a storm as was never seen in Rome 
By any one living in that day. 
Not a soul dared venture from his home, 
Not a soul in all the crowded town. 
Dumb beasts dropped dead, with terror, in stall ; 
Great chimney-stacks were overthrown, 



THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 121 

And about the streets the tiles were blown 
Like leaves in autumn. A fearful night, 
With ominous voices in the air ! 
Indeed, it seemed like the end of all. 
In the convent, the monks for very fright 
Went not to bed, but each in his cell 
Counted his beads by the taper's light, 
Quaking to hear the dreadful sounds, 
And shrivelling in the lightning's glare. 
It was as if the rivers of Hell 
Had risen, and overleaped their bounds. 

In the midst of this, at the convent door, 
Above the tempest's raving and roar 
Came a sudden knocking ! Mother of Grace, 
What desperate wretch was forced to face 
Such a night as that was out-of-doors ? 
Across the echoless, stony floors 
Into the windy corridors 

The monks came flocking, and down the stair, 
Silently, glancing each at each, 
As if they had lost the power of speech. 
Yes it was some one knocking there ! 
And then strange thing ! untouched by a soul 
The bell of the convent 'gan to toll ! 
It curdled the blood beneath their hair. 
Reaching the court, the brothers stood 
Huddled together, pallid and mute, 
By the massive door of iron-clamped wood, 



122 THE LEGEND OF ARA-CCELI 

Till one old monk, more resolute 

Than the others a man of pious will 

Stepped forth, and letting his lantern rest 

On the pavement, crouched upon his breast 

And peeped through a chink there was between 

The cedar door and the sunken sill. 

At the instant a flash of lightning came, 

Seeming to wrap the world in flame. 

He gave but a glance, and straight arose 

With his face like a corpse's. What had he seen ? 

Two dripping, little pink-white toes ! 

Then, like a man gone suddenly wild, 

He tugged at the bolts, flung down the chain, 

And there, in the night and wind and rain 

Shivering, piteous, and forlorn, 

And naked as ever it was born 

On the threshold stood the SAINTED CHILD ! 

" Since then," said Fra Gervasio, 
" We have never let the Bambino go 
Unwatched no, not by a prince's bed. 
Ah, signer, it made a dreadful stir." 
" And the woman Nina what of her ? 
Had she no story? " He bowed his head, 
And knitting his meagre fingers, so 
" In that night of wind and wrath," said he, 
" There was wrought in Rome a mystery. 
What know I, signer ? They found her dead ! " 



BAGATELLE 



CORYDON 

A PASTORAL 

SCENE : A roadside in A ready 
SHEPHERD 

GOOD sir, have you seen pass this way 
A mischief straight from market-day ? 
You 'd know her at a glance, I think ; 
Her eyes are blue, her lips are pink ; 
She has a way of looking back 
Over her shoulder, and, alack ! 
Who gets that look one time, good sir, 
Has naught to do but follow her. 

PILGRIM 

I have not seen this maid, methinks, 
Though she that passed had lips like pinks. 

SHEPHERD 

Or like two strawberries made one 

By some sly trick of dew and sun. 

123 



124 BAGATELLE 

PILGRIM 

A poet ! 

SHEPHERD 

Nay, a simple swain 
That tends his flock on yonder plain, 
Naught else, I swear by book and bell. 
But she that passed you marked her well. 
Was she not smooth as any be 
That dwell herein in Arcady? 

PILGRIM 

Her skin was as the satin bark 
Of birches. 

SHEPHERD 

Light or dark ? 

PILGRIM 

Quite dark. 

SHEPHERD 

Then 'twas not she. 

PILGRIM 

The peach's side 
That gets the sun is not so dyed 
As was her cheek. Her hair hung down 



BAGATELLE 125 

Like summer twilight falling brown ; 
And when the breeze swept by, I wist 
Her face was in a sombre mist. 

SHEPHERD 

No, that is not the maid I seek. 

Her hair lies gold against the cheek ; 

Her yellow tresses take the morn 

Like silken tassels of the corn. 

And yet brown locks are far from bad. 

PILGRIM 

Now I bethink me, this one had 
A figure like the willow-tree 
Which, slight and supple, wondrously 
Inclines to droop with pensive grace, 
And still retains its proper place ; 
A foot so arched and very small 
The marvel was she walked at all ; 
Her hand in sooth I lack for words 
Her hand, five slender snow-white birds ; 
Her voice through she but said "God- 
speed " 

Was melody blown through a reed ; 
The girl Pan changed into a pipe 
Had not a note so full and ripe. 
And then her eye my lad, her eye ! 
Discreet, inviting, candid, shy, 



126 BAGATELLE 

An outward ice, an inward fire, 
And lashes to the heart's desire 
Soft fringes blacker than the sloe. 

SHEPHERD, thoughtfully 

Good sir, which way did this one go ? 



PILGRIM, solus 

So, he is off ! The silly youth 
Knoweth not Love in sober sooth. 
He loves thus lads at first are blind 
No woman, only Womankind. 



ON AN INTAGLIO HEAD OF MINERVA 

BENEATH the warrior's helm, behold 
The flowing tresses of the woman ! 

Minerva, Pallas, what you will 

A winsome creature, Greek or Roman. 

Minerva ? No ! 't is some sly minx 
In cousin's helmet masquerading ; 

If not then Wisdom was a dame 
For sonnets and for serenading ! 



BAGATELLE 127 

I thought the goddess cold, austere, 

Not made for love's despairs and blisses : 

Did Pallas wear her hair like that ? 

Was Wisdom's mouth so shaped for kisses ? 

The Nightingale should be her bird, 
And not the Owl, big-eyed and solemn : 

How very fresh she looks, and yet 

She 's older far than Trajan's Column ! 

The magic hand that carved this face, 
And set this vine-work round it running, 

Perhaps ere mighty Phidias wrought 
Had lost its subtle skill and cunning. 

Who was he ? Was he glad or sad, 
Who knew to carve in such a fashion ? 

Perchance he graved the dainty head 

For some brown girl that scorned his passion. 

Perchance, in some still garden-place, 
Where neither fount nor tree to-day is, 

He flung the jewel at the feet 

Of Phryne, or perhaps 't was Lai's. 

But he is dust ; we may not know 

His happy or unhappy story : 
Nameless, and dead these centuries, 

His work outlives him there 's his glory ! 



128 BAGATELLE 

Both man and jewel lay in earth 
Beneath a lava-buried city ; 

The countless summers came and went 
With neither haste, nor hate, nor pity. 

Years blotted out the man, but left 
The jewel fresh as any blossom, 

Till some Visconti dug it up 

To rise and fall on Mabel's bosom ! 

O nameless brother ! see how Time 
Your gracious handiwork has guarded 

See how your loving, patient art 
Has come, at last, to be rewarded. 

Who would not suffer slights of men, 
And pangs of hopeless passion also, 

To have his carven agate-stone 
On such a bosom rise and fall so ! 



THE MENU 

I BEG you come to-night and dine. 
A welcome waits you, and sound wine 
The Roederer chilly to a charm, 
As Juno's breath the claret warm, 
The sherry of an ancient brand. 



BAGATELLE 129 

No Persian pomp, you understand 
A soup, a fish, two meats, and then 
A salad fit for aldermen 
(When aldermen, alas the days ! 
Were really worth their mayonnaise) ; 
A dish of grapes whose clusters won 
Their bronze in Carolinian sun ; 
Next, cheese for you the Neufchatel, 
A bit of Cheshire likes me well ; 
Cafe au lait or coffee black, 
With Kirsch or Kiimmel or Cognac 
(The German band in Irving Place 
By this time purple in the face) ; 
Cigars and pipes. These being through, 
Friends shall drop in, a very few 
Shakespeare and Milton, and no more. 
When these are guests I bolt the door, 
With Not at Home to any one 
Excepting Alfred Tennyson. 



COMEDY 

THEY parted, with clasps of hand s 
And kisses, and burning tears. 
They met, in a foreign land, 
After some twenty years : 



130 BAGATELLE 

Met as acquaintances meet, 
Smilingly, tranquil-eyed 
Not even the least little beat 
Of the heart, upon either side ! 

They chatted of this and that, 
The nothings that make up life; 
She in a Gainsborough hat, 
And he in black for his wife. 



IN AN ATELIER 

I PRAY you, do not turn your head ; 
And let your hands lie folded, so. 
It was a dress like this, wine-red, 
That troubled Dante, long ago. 
You don't know Dante ? Never mind, 
He loved a lady wondrous fair 
His model ? Something of the kind. 
I wonder if she had your hair ! 

I wonder if she looked so meek, 
And was not meek at all (my dear, 
I want that side light on your cheek). 
He loved her, it is very clear, 
And painted her, as I paint you, 
But rather better, on the whole 



BAGATELLE 131 

(Depress your chin ; yes, that will do) : 
He was a painter of the soul ! 

(And painted portraits, too, I think, 
In the INFERNO devilish good! 
I 'd make some certain critics blink 
Had I his method and his mood.) 
Her name was (Fanny, let your glance 
Rest there, by that majolica tray) 
Was Beatrice ; they met by chance 
They met by chance, the usual way. 

(As you and I met, months ago, 
Do you remember ? How your feet 
Went crinkle-crinkle on the snow 
Along the bleak gas-lighted street ! 
An instant in the drug-store's glare 
You stood as in a golden frame, 
And then I swore it, then and *here, 
To hand your sweetness down to fame.) 

They met, and loved, and never wed 
(All this was long before our time), 
And though they died, they are not dead 
Such endless youth gives mortal rhyme ! 
Still walks the earth, with haughty mien, 
Pale Dante, in his soul's distress ; 
And still the lovely Florentine 
Goes lovely in her wine-red dress. 



132 BAGATELLE 

You do not understand at all ? 

He was a poet ; on his page 

He drew her ; and, though kingdoms fall, 

This lady lives from age to age. 

A poet that means painter too, 

For words are colors, rightly laid ; 

And they outlast our brightest hue, 

For varnish cracks and crimsons fade. 

The poets they are lucky ones ! 
When we are thrust upon the shelves, 
Our works turn into skeletons 
Almost as quickly as ourselves ; 
For our poor canvas peels at length, 
At length is prized when all is bare : 
" What grace ! " the critics cry, " what strength ! 
When neither strength nor grace is there. 

Ah, Fanny, I am sick at heart, 
It is so little one can do ; 
We talk our jargon live for Art ! 
I 'd much prefer to live for you. 
How dull and lifeless colors are ! 
You smile, and all my picture lies: 
I wish that I could crush a star 
To make a pigment for your eyes. 

Yes, child, I know, I 'm out of tune ; 
The light is bad ; the sky is gray : 



BAGATELLE 133 

I paint no more this afternoon, 

So lay your royal gear away. 

Besides, you 're moody chin on hand 

I know not what not in the vein 

Not like Anne Bullen, sweet and bland : 

You sit there smiling in disdain. 

Not like the Tudor's radiant Queen, 

Unconscious of the coming woe, 

But rather as she might have been, 

Preparing for the headsman's blow. 

So, I have put you in a miff 

Sitting bolt-upright, wrist on wrist. 

How should you look ? Why, dear, as if 

Somehow as if you 'd just been kissed ! 



AT A READING 

THE spare Professor, grave and bald, 
Began his paper. It was called, 
I think, " A brief Historic Glance 
At Russia, Germany, and France." 
A glance, but to my best belief 
'Twas almost anything but brief 
A wide survey, in which the earth 
Was seen before mankind had birth 



134 BAGATELLE 

Strange monsters basked them in the sun, 

Behemoth, armored glyptodon, 

And in the dawn's unpractised ray 

The transient dodo winged its way 

Then, by degrees, through silt and slough, 

We reached Berlin I don't know how. 

The good Professor's monotone 

Had turned me into senseless stone 

Instanter, but that near me sat 

Hypatia in her new spring hat, 

Blue-eyed, intent, with lips whose bloom 

Lighted the heavy-curtained room. 

Hypatia ah, what lovely things 

Are fashioned out of eighteen springs 1 

At first, in sums of this amount, 

The blighting winters do not count. 

Just as my eyes were growing dim 

With heaviness, I saw that slim, 

Erect, elastic figure there, 

Like a pond-lily taking air. 

She looked so fresh, so wise, so neat, 

So altogether crisp and sweet, 

I quite forgot what Bismarck said, 

And why the Emperor shook his head, 

And how it was Von Moltke's frown 

Cost France another frontier town. 

The only facts I took away 

From the Professor's theme that day 



BAGATELLE 135 

Were these : a forehead broad and low, 
Such as the antique sculptures show ; 
A chin to Greek perfection true ; 
Eyes of Astarte's tender blue ; 
A high complexion without fleck 
Or flaw, and curls about her neck. 



AMONTILLADO 

(In a rhythm of Mr. Thackeray) 

RAFTERS black with smoke, 

White with sand the floor is, 
Twenty whiskered Dons 

Calling to Dolores 
Tawny flower of Spain, 

Wild rose of Granada, 
Keeper of the wines 

In this old posada. 

Hither, light-of-foot, 

Dolores Juno Circe ! 

Pretty Spanish girl 

Without a grain of mercy ! 

Here I 'm travel-worn, 
Sad, and thirsty very, 



136 BAGATELLE 

And she does not fetch 
The Amontillado sherry ! 

Thank you, breath of June ! 

Now my heart beats free ; ah ? 
Kisses for your hand, 

Mariquita mia. 
You shall live in song, 

Warm and ripe and cheery, 
Mellowing with years 

Like Amontillado sherry. 

While the earth spins round 

And the stars lean over, 
May this amber sprite 

Never lack a lover. 
Blessed be the man 

Who lured her from the berry, 
And blest the girl that brings 

The Amontillado sherry! 

Sorrow, get thee hence ! 

Care, be gone, blue dragon ! 
Only shapes of joy 

Are sculptured on the flagon. 
Kisses repartees 

Lyrics all that 's merry 
Rise to touch the lip 

In Amontillado sherry. 



BAGATELLE 137 

Here be wit and mirth, 

And love, the arch enchanter; 
Here the golden blood 

Of saints in this decanter. 
When pale Charon comes 

To row me o'er his ferry, 
I '11 fee him with a case 

Of Amontillado sherry ! 

What ! the flagon 's dry ? 

Hark, old Time's confession 
Both hands crossed at XII, 

Owning his transgression ! 
Pray, old monk, for all 

Generous souls and merry ; 
May they have their share 

Of Amontillado sherry ! 



CARPE DIEM 

BY studying my lady's eyes 

I 've grown so learned day by day, 

So Machiavelian in this wise, 

That when I send her flowers, I say 

To each small flower (no matter what, 
Geranium, pink, or tuberose, 



138 BAGATELLE 

Syringa, or forget-me-not, 
Or violet) before it goes : 

" Be not triumphant, little flower, 
When on her haughty heart you lie, 
But modestly enjoy your hour : 
She '11 weary of you by and by." 



DANS LA BOHkME 

THE leafless branches snap with cold ; 
The night is still, the winds are laid ; 
And you are sitting, as of old, 
Beside my hearth-stone, heavenly maid ! 
What would have chanced me all these years, 
As boy and man, had you not come 
And brought me gifts of smiles and tears 
From your Olympian home ? 

Dear Muse, 't is twenty years or more 
Since that enchanted, fairy time 
When you came tapping at my door, 
Your reticule stuffed full of rhyme. 
What strange things have befallen, indeed, 
Since then ! Who has the time to say 
What bards have flowered (and gone to seed) 
Immortal for a day ! 



BAGATELLE 139 

We Ve seen Pretence with cross and crown, 
And Folly caught in self-spun toils ; 
Merit content to pass unknown, 
And Honor scorning public spoils 
Seen Bottom wield the critic's pen 
While Ariel sang in sunlit cloud : 
Sometimes we wept, and now and then 
We could but laugh aloud. 

With pilgrim staff and sandal-shoon, 

One time we sought the Old- World shrines : 

Saw Venice lying in the moon, 

The Jungfrau and the Apennines ; 

Beheld the Tiber rolling dark, 

Rent temples, fanes, and gods austere ; 

In English meadows heard the lark 

That charmed her Shakespeare's ear. 

What dreams and visions we have had, 
What tempests we have weathered through ! 
Been rich and poor, and gay and sad, 
But never hopeless thanks to you. 
A draught of water from the brook, 
Or alt hochheimer it was one ; 
Whatever fortune fell we took, 

Children of shade and sun. 

Though lacking gold, we never stooped 
To pick it up in all our days ; 



140 BAGATELLE 

Though lacking praise we sometimes drooped, 
We never asked a soul for praise. 



The exquisite reward of song 

Was song the self-same thrill and glow 

That to unfolding flowers belong 

And woodland thrushes know ! 

What gilt-winged hopes have taken flight, 
And dropped, like Icarus, in mid-sky ! 
What cloudy days have turned to bright ! 
What fateful years have glided by ! 
What lips we loved vain memory seeks ! 
What hands are cold that once pressed ours ! 
What lashes rest upon the cheeks 

Beneath the snows and flowers 1 

We would not wish them back again ; 
The way is rude from here to there : 
For us, the short-lived joy and pain, 
For them, the endless rest from care, 
The crown, the palm, the deathless youth : 
We would not wish them back ah, no ! 
And as for us, dear Muse, in truth, 
We 've but half way to go. 



BAGATELLE 141 

THE LUNCH 

A GOTHIC window, where a damask curtain 
Made the blank daylight shadowy and uncertain ; 
A slab of rosewood on four eagle-talons 
Held trimly up and neatly taught to balance ; 
A porcelain dish, o'er which in many a cluster 
Black grapes hung down, dead-ripe and without 

lustre ; 

A melon cut in thin, delicious slices ; 
A cake that seemed mosaic-work in spices j 
Two China cups with golden tulips sunny, 
And rich inside with chocolate like honey ; 
And she and I the banquet-scene completing 
With dreamy words, and fingers shyly meeting. 



IMP OF DREAMS 



IMP of Dreams, when she 's asleep, 
To her snowy chamber creep, 
And straight whisper in her ear 
What, awake, she will not hear 

Imp of Dreams, when she 's asleep. 



142 BAGATELLE 

II 

Tell her, so she may repent, 
That no rose withholds its scent, 
That no bird that has a song 
Hoards the music summer-long 
Tell her, so she may repent. 

in 

Tell her there 's naught else to do, 
If to-morrow's skies be blue, 
But to come, with civil speech, 
And walk with me to Hampton Beach 
Tell her there 's naught else to do ! 
Tell her, so she may repent 

Imp of Dreams, when she 's asleep ! 



AN ELECTIVE COURSE 

LINES FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF A HARVARD 

UNDERGRADUATE 

THE bloom that lies on Hilda's cheek 

Is all my Latin, all my Greek ; 

The only sciences I know 

Are frowns that gloom and smiles that glow ; 



BAGATELLE 143 

Siberia and Italy 
Lie in her sweet geography ; 
No scholarship have I but such 
As teaches me to love her much. 

Why should I strive to read the skies, 
Who know the midnight of her eyes ? 
Why should I go so very far 
To learn what heavenly bodies are ? 
Not Berenice's starry hair 
With Hilda's tresses can compare ; 
Not Venus on a cloudless night, 
Enslaving Science with her light, 
Ever reveals so much as when 
She stares and droops her lids again. 

If Nature's secrets are forbidden 
To mortals, she may keep them hidden. 
JEoi\s and aeons we progressed 
And did not let that break our rest ; 
Little we cared if Mars o'erhead 
Were or were not inhabited ; 
Without the aid of Saturn's rings 
Fair girls were wived in those far springs ; 
Warm lips met ours and conquered us 
Or ere thou wert, Copernicus ! 

Graybeards, who seek to bridge the chasm 
'Twixt man to-day and protoplasm, 



144 BAGATELLE 

Who theorize and probe and gape, 
And finally evolve an ape 
Yours is a harmless sort of cult, 
If you are pleased with the result. 
Some folks admit, with cynic grace, 
That you have rather proved your case. 
These dogmatists are so severe ! 
Enough for me that Hilda 's here, 
Enough that, having long survived 
Pre-Eveic forms, she has arrived 
An illustration the completest 
Of the survival of the sweetest. 

Linnaeus, avaunt ! I only care 
To know what flower she wants to wear. 
I leave it to the addle-pated 
To guess how pinks originated, 
As if it mattered ! The chief thing 
Is that we have them in the Spring, 
And Hilda likes them. When they come, 
I straightway send and purchase some. 
The Origin of Plants go to ! 
Their proper end /have in view. 

The loveliest book that ever man 
Looked into since the world began 
Is Woman ! As I turn those pages, 
As fresh as in the primal ages, 
As day by day I scan, perplexed, 



BAGATELLE 145 

The ever subtly changing text, 

I feel that I am slowly growing 

To think no other work worth knowing. 

And in my copy there is none 

So perfect as the one I own 

I find no thing set down but such 

As teaches me to love it much. 



PEPITA 

SCARCELY sixteen years old 
Is Pepita. (You understand, 
A breath of this sunny land 

Turns green fruit into gold : 

A maiden's conscious blood 

In the cheek of girlhood glows ; 
A bud slips into a rose 

Before it is quite a bud.) 

And I in Seville sedate, 
An American, with an eye 
For that strip of indigo sky 

Half-glimpsed through a Moorish gate 



146 BAGATELLE 

I see her, sitting up there, 

With tortoise-shell comb and fan ; 
Red-lipped, but a trifle wan, 

Because of her coal-black hair ; 

And the hair a trifle dull, 
Because of the eyes beneath, 
And the radiance of her teeth 

When her smile is at its full ! 

Against the balcony rail 

She leans, and looks on the street ; 

Her lashes, long and discreet, 
Shading her eyes like a veil. 

Held by a silver dart, 

The mantilla's delicate lace 
Falls each side of her face 

And crosswise over her heart. 

This is Pepita this 

Her hour for taking her ease : 

A lover under the trees 
In the calk were not amiss ! 

Well, I must needs pass by, 

With a furtive glance, be it said, 
At the dusk Murillo head 

And the Andalusian eye. 



BAGATELLE 14? 

In the Plaza I hear the sounds 

Of guitar and Castanet ; 

Although it is early yet, 
The dancers are on their rounds. 

Softly the sunlight falls 

On the slim Giralda tower, 

That now peals forth the hour 
O'er broken ramparts and walls. 

Ah, what glory and gloom 

In this Arab-Spanish town ! 

What masonry, golden-brown, 
And hung with tendril and bloom ! 

Place of forgotten kings ! 
With fountains that never play, 
And gardens where day by day 

The lonely cicada sings. 

Traces are everywhere 

Of the dusky race that came, 
And passed, like a sudden flame, 

Leaving their sighs in the air ! 

Taken with things like these, 

Pepita fades out of my mind : 

Pleasure enough I find 
In Moorish column and frieze. 



148 BAGATELLE 

And yet I have my fears, 
If this had been long ago, 
I might . . . well, I do not know . . 

She with her sixteen years ! 



L'EAU DORMANTE 

CURLED up and sitting on her feet, 

Within the window's deep embrasure, 
Is Lydia ; and across the street, 

A lad, with eyes of roguish azure, 
Watches her buried in her book. 
In vain he tries to win a look, 
And from the trellis over there 
Blows sundry kisses through the air, 
Which miss the mark, and fall unseen, 
Uncared for. Lydia is thirteen. 

My lad, if you, without abuse, 

Will take advice from one who 's wiser, 
And put his wisdom to more use 

Than ever yet did your adviser ; 
If you will let, as none will do, 
Another's heartbreak serve for two, 
You '11 have a care, some four years hence, 



BAGATELLE 149 

How you lounge there by yonder fence 

And blow those kisses through that screen 

For Lydia will be seventeen. 



ECHO SONG 

WHO can say where Echo dwells ? 
In some mountain-cave, methinks, 
Where the white owl sits and blinks ; 
Or in deep sequestered dells, 
Where the foxglove hangs its bells, 
Echo dwells. 
Echo ! 

Echo! 

Phantom of the crystal Air, 
Daughter of sweet Mystery ! 
Here is one has need of thee ; 
Lead him to thy secret lair, 
Myrtle brings he for thy hair 
Hear his prayer, 
Echo! 
Echo 

Echo, lift thy drowsy head, 

And repeat each charmed word 



ISO BAGATELLE 

Thou must needs have overheard 
Yestere'en, ere, rosy-red, 
Daphne down the valley fled 
Words unsaid, 
Echo! 

Echo! 

Breathe the vows she since denies ! 
She hath broken every vow ; 
What she would she would not now 
Thou didst hear her perjuries. 
Whisper, whilst I shut my eyes, 
Those sweet lies, 
Echo ! 

Echo ! 



THALIA 

A middle-aged lyrical poet is supposed to be taking final leave of 
the Muse of Comedy. She has brought him his hat and gloves, and 
is abstractedly picking a thread of gold hair from his coat sleeve as 
he begins to speak : 

I SAY it under the rose 

oh, thanks ! yes, under the laurel, 
We part lovers, not foes ; 

we are not going to quarrel. 



BAGATELLE 151 

We have too long been friends 

on foot and in gilded coaches, 

Now that the whole thing ends, 

to spoil our kiss with reproaches. 

I leave you ; my soul is wrung ; 

I pause, look back from the portal 
Ah, I no more am young, 

and you, child, you are immortal ! 

Mine is the glacier's way, 

yours is the blossom's weather 
When were December and May 

known to be happy together? 

Before my kisses grow tame, 

before my moodiness^ grieve you, 

While yet my heart is flame, 

and I all lover, I leave you. 

So, in the coming time, 

when you count the rich years over, 
Think of me in my prime, 

and not as a white-haired lover, 



Fretful, pierced with regret, 

the wraith of a dead Desire 

Thrumming a cracked spinet 
by a slowly dying fire. 



152 BAGATELLE 

When, at last, I am cold 

years hence, if the gods so will it 
Say, " He was true as gold," 

and wear a rose in your fillet ! 

Others, tender as I, 

will come and sue for caresses, 
Woo you, win you, and die 

mind you, a rose in your tresses ! 

Some Melpomene woo, 

some hold Clio the nearest ; 
You, sweet Comedy you 

were ever sweetest and dearest ! 

Nay, it is time to go. 

When writing your tragic sister 
Say to that child of woe 

how sorry I was I missed her. 

Really, I cannot stay, 

though " parting is such sweet sorrow " . . 
Perhaps I will, on my way 

down-town, look in to-morrow ! 



BAGATELLE 153 

PALINODE 

WHO is Lydia, pray, and who 
Is Hypatia ? Softly, dear, 
Let me breathe it in your ear 
They are you, and only you. 
And those other nameless two 
Walking in Arcadian air 
She that was so very fair ? 
She that had the twilight hair ? 
They were you, dear, only you. 
If I speak of night or day, 
Grace of fern or bloom of grape, 
Hanging cloud or fountain spray, 
Gem or star or glistening dew, 
Or of mythologic shape, 
Psyche, Pyrrha, Daphne, say 
I mean you, dear, you, just you= 



MERCEDES 



CHARACTERS 

ACHILLE LOUVOIS MERCEDES 

LABOISSIERE URSULA 

PADRE JOSEF SERGEANT and SOLDIERS 

Scene, SPAIN Period, 1810 

ACT I 

A detachment of French troops bivouacked on the edge of the forest 
of Covelleda A sentinel is seen on the cliffs overhanging the 
camp The guard is relieved in dumb show as the dialogue pro- 
gresses Louvois and Laboissiere, wrapped in greatcoats, are 
seated by a smouldering fire of brushwood in the foreground 
Starlight. 

SCENE I 
Louvois, LABOISSIERE 

LABOISSIERE 

Louvois ! 

LOUVOIS, starting from a reverie 

Eh ? What is it ? I must have slept. 

LABOISSIERE 

With eyes staring at nothing, like an Egyptian 
idol ! This is not amusing. You are as gloomy 

to-night as an undertaker out of employment. 

155 



156 MERCEDES 

LOUVOIS 

Say, rather, an executioner who loathes his trade. 
No, I was not asleep. I cannot sleep with this 
business on my conscience. 

LABOISSIERE 

In affairs like this, conscience goes to the rear 
with the sick and wounded. 

LOUVOIS 

One may be forgiven, or can forgive himself, 
many a cruel thing done in the heat of battle ; but 
to steal upon a defenceless village, and in cold 
blood sabre old men, women, and children that 
revolts me. 

LABOISSIERE 

What must be, must be. 

LOUVOIS 

Yes the poor wretches. 

LABOISSIERE 

The orders are 

LOUVOIS 
Every soul ! 



MERCEDES 157 

LABOISSIERE 

They have brought it upon themselves, if that 
comforts them. Every defile in these infernal 
mountains bristles with carabines; every village 
gives shelter or warning to the guerrillas. The 
army is being decimated by assassination. It is 
the same ghastly story throughout Castile and 
Estremadura. After we have taken a town we 
lose more men than it cost us to storm it. I would 
rather look into the throat of a battery at forty 
paces than attempt to pass through certain streets 
in Madrid or Burgos after nightfall. You go in at 
one end, but, diantre ! you don't come out at the 
other. 

LOUVOIS 

What would you have ? It is life or death \\ith 
these people. 

LABOISSIERE 

I would have them fight like Christians. Poison- 
ing wells and water-courses is not fighting, and 
assassination is not war. Some such blow as we 
are about to strike is the sort of rude surgery the 
case demands. 

LOUVOIS 

Certainly the French army on the Peninsula is in 
a desperate strait. The men are worn out contend- 



I 5 8 MERCEDES 

ing against shadows, and disheartened by victories 
that prove more disastrous than defeats in other 
lands. 

LABOISSIERE 

It is the devil's own country. The very birds 
here have no song. 1 Even the cigars are damna- 
ble. Will you have one ? 

LOUVOIS 
Thanks, no. 

LABOISSIERE, after a pause 

This village of Arguano which we are to disci- 
pline, as the brave Junot would say, is it much of 
a village ? 

LOUVOIS 

No ; an insignificant hamlet one wide calle with 
a zigzag line of stucco houses on each side ; a po- 
sada, and a forlorn chapel standing like an over- 
grown tombstone in the middle of the cemetery. 
In the market-place, three withered olive-trees. 
On a hilltop overlooking all, a windmill of the 
time of Don Quixote. In brief, the regulation 
Spanish village. 

1 Except in a few provinces, singing-birds are rare in Spain, 
owing to the absence of woodland. 



MERCEDES 159 

LABOISSIERE 

You have been there, then ? with your three 
withered olive-trees ! 

LOUVOIS, slowly 

Yes, I have been there . . . 

LABOISSIERE, aside 

He has that same odd look in his eyes which 
has puzzled me these two days. (Aloud) If I have 
touched a wrong chord, pardon ! You have un- 
pleasant associations with the place. 

LOUVOIS 

I ? Oh no ; on the contrary I have none but 
agreeable memories of Arguano. I was quartered 
there, or rather, in the neighborhood, for several 
weeks a year or two ago. I was recovering from 
a wound at the time, and the air of that valley 
did me better service than a platoon of surgeons. 
Then the villagers were simple, honest folk for 
Spaniards. Indeed, they were kindly folk. I re- 
member the old padre ; he was not half a bad fel- 
low, though I have no love for the long-gowns. 
With his scant black soutane, and his thin white 
hair brushed behind his ears under a skull-cap, he 
somehow 7 reminded me of my old mother in Lan- 
guedoc, and we were good comrades. We used 
now and then to empty a bottle of Valdepenas to- 



160 MERCEDES 

gather in the shady posada garden. The native 
wine here, when you get it pure, is better than it 
promises. 

LABOISSIERE 

Why, that was consorting with the enemy ! The 
Church is our deadliest foe now. Since the bull 
of Pius VII., excommunicating the Emperor, we all 
are heretical dogs in Spanish eyes. His Holiness 
has made murder a short cut to heaven. 1 By pon- 
iarding or poisoning a Frenchman, these fanatics 
fancy that they insure their infinitesimal souls. 

LOUVOIS rises 

Yes, they believe that; yet when all is said, I 
have no great thirst for this poor padre's blood. 
If the marechal had only turned over to me some 
other village ! No I do not mean what I say. 

1 In Andalusia, and in fact throughout Spain at that period, 
the priests taught the children a catechism of which this is a 
specimen : " How many Emperors of the French are there ? " 
" One actually, in three deceiving persons." " What are 
they called ? " ." Napoleon, Murat, and Manuel Godoy, 
Prince of the Peace." " Which is the most wicked ? " " They 
are all equally so." "What are the French?" "Apostate 
Christians turned heretics." " What punishment does a 
Spaniard deserve who fails in his duty ? " " The death and 
infamy of a traitor." "Is it a sin to kill a Frenchman?" 
"No, my father; heaven is gained by killing one of these 
heretical dogs." 



MERCEDES 161 

Since the work was to be done, it was better I 
should do it. There 's a fatality in sending me to 
Arguano. Remember that. From the moment the 
order came from headquarters I have had such a 
heaviness here. (Pauses) Awhile ago, in a half doze, 
I dreamed of cutting down this harmless old priest 
who had come to me to beg mercy for the women 
and children. I cut him across the face, Labois- 
siere ! I saw him still smiling, with his lip slashed 
in two. The irony of it ! When I think of that 
smile I am tempted to break my sword over my 
knee, and throw myself into the ravine yonder. 

LABOISSIERE, aside 

This is the man who got the cross for sabring 
three gunners in the trench at Saragossa ! It is 
droll he should be so moved by the idea of killing 
a beggarly old Jesuit more or less. (Aloud) Bah ! 
it was only a dream, voila tout one of those 
villainous nightmares which run wild over these 
hills. I have been kicked by them myself many a 
time. What, the devil ! dreams always go by con- 
traries ; in which case you will have the satisfaction 
of being knocked on the head by the venerable 
padre and so quits. It may come to that. Who 
knows ? We are surrounded by spies ; I would 
wager a week's rations that Arguano is prepared 
for us. 



162 MERCEDES 

LOUVOIS 

If I thought that ! An assault with resistance 
would cover all. Yes, yes the spies. They must 
be aware of our destination and purpose. A move- 
ment such as this could not have been made unob- 
served. (Abruptly} Laboissiere ! 

LABOISSIERE 

Well ? 

LOUVOIS 

There was a certain girl at Arguano, a niece or 
god-daughter to the old padre a brave girl. 

LABOISSIERE 

Ah so ? Come now, confess, my captain, it 
was the sobrina, and not the old priest, you struck 
down in your dream. 

LOUVOIS 
Yes, that was it. How did you know ? 

LABOISSIERE 

By instinct and observation. There is always a 
woman at the bottom of everything. You have 
only to go deep enough. 

LOUVOIS 
This girl troubles me. I was ordered from Ar- 



MERCEDES 163 

guano without an instant's warning at midnight 
between two breaths, as it were. Then commu- 
nication with the place was cut off. ... I have 
never heard word of her since. 

LABOISSIERE 

So ? Did you love her ? 

LOUVOIS 
I have not said that. 

LABOISSIERE 

Speak your thought, and say it. I ever loved a 
love-story, when it ran as clear as a trout-brook and 
had the right heart-leaps in it. With this wind 
sighing in the tree-tops, and these heavy stars 
drooping over us, it is the very place and hour for 
a bit of romance. Come, now. 

LOUVOIS 
It was all of a romance. 

LABOISSIERE 

I knew it ! I will begin for you : You loved her. 

LOUVOIS 

Yes, I loved her. It was the good God that sent 
her to my bedside. She nursed me day and night. 
She brought me back to life. ... I know not how 



1 64 MERCEDES 

it happened ; the events have no sequence in my 
memory. I had been wounded ; I dropped from 
the saddle as we entered the village, and was car- 
ried for dead into one of the huts. Then the fever 
took me. . . . Day after day I plunged from one 
black abyss into another, my wits quite gone. At 
odd intervals I was conscious of some one bending 
over me. Now it seemed to be a demon, and now 
a white-hooded sister of the Sacred Heart at Paris. 
Oftener it was that madonna above the altar in the 
old mosque at Cordova. Such strange fancies take 
men with gunshot wounds. One night I awoke in 
my senses, and there she sat, with her fathomless 
eyes fixed upon my face, like a statue of Pity. You 
know those narrow, melting eyes these women have, 
with a dash of Arab fire in them . . . 

LABOISSIERE 

Know them ? Sacrebleu ! 

LOUVOIS 

The first time I walked out, she led me by the 
hand, I was so very weak, like a little child learn- 
ing to walk. It was spring, the skies were blue, 
the almonds were in blossom, the air was like wine. 
Great heaven ! how beautiful and fresh the world 
was, as if God had just made it ! From time to 
time I leaned upon her shoulder, not thinking 
of her. Later I came to know her a saint 



MERCEDES 165 

in disguise, a peasant-girl with the instincts of a 
duchess. 



LABOISSIERE 

They are always like that, saints and duchesses 
by brevet! I fell in with her own sister at Bar- 
celona. Look you braids of purple-black hair 
and the complexion of a newly-minted napoleon. 
I forget her name. (Knitting his brows') Paquita . . . 
Mariquita ? It was something-quita, but no matter. 

LOUVOIS 

How it all comes back to me ! The wild foot- 
paths in the haunted forest of Covelleda ; the 
broken Moorish water-tank, in the plaza, against 
which we leaned to watch the gypsy dances ; the 
worn stone step of the cottage, where we sat of 
evenings with guitar and cigarette. What simple 
things make a man forget that his grave lies in 
front of him ! (Pauses) There was a lover, a contra- 
bandista, or something a fellow who might have 
played the spadassin in one of Lope de Vega's 
cloak-and-dagger comedies. The gloom of the lad, 
fingering his stiletto-hilt ! Presently she sent him 
to the right-about, him and his scowls the poor 
devil. A certain Pedro Mendez. 

LABQISSIERE 

Oh, a very bad case ! 



i66 MERCEDES 

LOUVOIS 

I would not have any hurt befall that girl, Labois- 
siere ! 

LABOISSIERE 

Surely. 

LOUVOIS 

And there 's no human way to warn her of her 
danger ! 

LABOISSIERE 

To warn her would be to warn the village and 
defeat our end. However, no French messenger 
could reach the place alive. 

LOUVOIS 

And no other is possible. Now you understand 
my misery. I am ready to go mad. 

LABOISSIERE 

You take the thing too seriously. Nothing ever 
is so bad as it looks, except a Spanish ragoiit. 
After all, it is not likely that a single soul is left in 
Arguano. The very leaves of this dismal forest are 
lips that whisper of our movements. The villagers 
have doubtless made off with that fine store of grain 
and aguardiente we so sorely stand in need of, and 
a score or two of the brigands are probably lying 
in wait for us in some narrow canon. 



MERCEDES 167 

LOUVOIS 



God will it so ! 



LABOISSIERE 

Louvois, if the girl is at Arguano, not a hair of 
her head shall be harmed, though I am shot for it 
when we get back to Burgos ! 

LOUVOIS 

You are a brave soul, Laboissiere ! Your words 
have lifted a weight from my bosom. Without 
your aid I should be powerless to save her. 

LABOISSIERE 

Are we not comrades, we who have fought side 
by side these six months, and lain together night 
after night with this blue arch for our tent-roof ? 
Dismiss your anxiety. What is that Gascogne 
proverb? "We suffer most from the ills that 
never happen." Let us get some rest ; we have 
had a rude day. . . . See, the stars have doubled 
their pickets out there to the westward. 

LOUVOIS 

You are right ; we should sleep. We march at 
daybreak. Good-night. 

LABOISSIERE 

Good-night, and vive la France ! 



1 68 MERCEDES 

LOUVOIS 

Vive T Empereur ! 

LABOISSIERE walks away humming 

" Reposez-vous, Ions chevaliers!* 

LOUVOIS, looking after him 

There goes a light heart. But mine . . . mine is 
as heavy as lead. 



SCENE II 

LYRICAL INTERLUDE 

Soldiers' Song 

While this is being sung behind the scenes the guard is relieved on 
the cliffs. Louvois wraps his cloak around him and falls into a 
troubled sleep. 

The camp is hushed ; the fires burn low ; 
Like ghosts the sentries come and go : 
Now seen, now lost, upon the height 
A keen drawn sabre glimmers white. 
Swiftly the midnight steals away 
Reposez-vous, bons chevaliers ! 

Perchance into your dream shall come 
Visions of love or thoughts of home ; 



MERCEDES 169 

The furtive night wind, hurrying by, 
Shall kiss away the half-breathed sigh, 
And softly whispering, seem to say, 
Reposez-vouS) bons chevaliers ! 

Through star-lit dusk and shimmering dew 
It is your lady comes to you ! 
Delphine, Lisette, Annette who knows 
By what sweet wayward name she goes ? 
Wrapped in white arms till break of day, 
Reposez-vons, bons chevaliers ! 

In the course of the song the stage is gradually darkened and 
the scene changed. 



ACT II 

Morning The interior of a stone hut in Arguano Through the 
door opening upon the calle are seen piles of Indian corn, sheaves 
of wheat, and loaves of bread partly consumed Empty wine-skins 
are scattered here and there among the cinders In one corner 
of the chamber, which is low-studded but spacious, an old woman 
is sitting in an arm-chair and crooning to herself At the left, a 
settle stands against the wall In the centre of the room a child 
lies asleep in a cradle Mercedes Padre Josef entering ab- 
ruptly. 

SCENE I 
MERCEDES, PADRE JOSF, then URSULA 



PADRE 
Mercedes ! daughter ! are you mad to linger so ? 

MERCEDES 

Nay, father, it is you who are mad to come back. 

PADRE JOSEF 

We were nearly a mile from the village when I 
missed you and the child. I had stopped at your 
cottage and found no one. I thought you were 
with those who had started at sunrise. 



MERCEDES 171 

MERCEDES 

Nay, I brought Chiquita here last night when I 
heard the French were coming. 

PADRE JOSEF 

Quick, Mercedes ! there is not an instant to waste. 

MERCEDES 

Then hasten, Padre Jose'f, while there is yet 

time. [Pusfies him towards tlie door 

PADRE JOSEF 

And you, child ? 

MERCEDES 

I shall stay. 

PADRE JOSEF 

Listen to her, Sainted Virgin ! she will stay, and 
the French bloodhounds at our very heels ! 

MERCEDES, glancing at Ursula 

Could I leave old Ursula, and she not able to 
climb the mountain? Think you my own flesh 
and blood ! 

PADRE JOSEF 

Ah, cielo ! true. They have forgotten her, the 
cowards ! and now it is too late. God willed it 



172 MERCEDES 

santificado sea tu nombre ! (Hesitates} Mercedes, Ur- 
sula is old very old; the better part of her is 
already dead. See how she laughs and mumbles 
to herself, and knows naught of what is passing. 

MERCEDES 

The poor grandmother ! she thinks it is a saint's 

day. [Seats herself on the settle 

PADRE JOSEF 

What is life or death to her whose soul is other- 
where ? What is a second more or less to the leaf 
that clings to a shrunken bough ? But you, Mer- 
cedes, the long summer smiles for such as you. 
Think of yourself, think of Chiquita. Come with 
me, child, come ! 

URSULA 

Ay, ay, go with the good padre, dear. There is 
dancing on the plaza. The gitanos are there, may- 
hap. I hear the music. I had ever an ear for tam- 
bourines and castanets. When I was a slip of a 
girl, I used to foot it with the best in the cachuca 
and the bolera. I was a merry jade, Mercedes 
a merry jade. Wear your broidered garters, dear. 

MERCEDES 

She hears music. (Listens) No. Her mind wan- 
ders strangely to-day, now here, now there. The 



MERCEDES 173 

gray spirits are with her. (To Ursula gently) No, 
grandmother, I came to stay with you, I and Chi- 

[Crosses over to Ursula 



PADRE JOSEF 

You are mad, Mercedes. They will murder you 
all. 

MERCEDES 

They will not have the heart to harm Chiquita, 
nor me, perchance, for her sake. 

PADRE JOSE'F 

They have no hearts, these Frenchmen. Ah, 
Mercedes, do you not know better than most that 
a Frenchman has no heart? [Points to the cradle 

MERCEDES, hastily 

I know nothing. I shall stay. Is life so sweet 
to me ? Go, Padre Josef. What could save you 
if they found you here ? Not your priest's gown. 

PADRE JOSE> 

You will follow, my daughter ? 

MERCEDES 

No. 

PADRE JOSE'F 

I beseech you ! 



174 MERCEDES 

MERCEDES 

No. 

PADRE JOSEF 

Then you are lost ! 

MERCEDES 

Nay, paaMno, God is everywhere. Have you not 
yourself said it ? Lay your hands for a moment 
on my head, as you used to do when I was a little 

Child, and gO gO ! [Kneels 

PADRE JOSEF 

Thou wert ever a wilful girl, Mercedes. 

MERCEDES 

Oh, say not so ; but quick your blessing, quick ! 

PADRE JOSE> 

A Dios. . . . 

He makes the sign of the cross on Mercedes' forehead, and 
slowly turns away. Mercedes rises, follows him to the 
door, and looks after him with tears in her eyes. Then 
she returns to the middle of the room, and sits on a low 
stool beside the cradle. 



MERCEDES 175 

SCENE II 
MERCEDES, URSULA 

URSULA, after a silence 

Has he gone, the good padre ? 

MERCEDES 

Yes, dear soul. 

URSULA, reflectively 

He was your uncle once. 

MERCEDES 

Once ? Yes, and always. How you speak ! 

URSULA 

He is not gay any more, the good padre. He is 
getting old . . . getting old. 

MERCEDES 

To hear her ! and she eighty years last San 
Miguel's day ! 

URSULA 
What day is it ? 

MERCEDES, laying one finger on her lifs 

Hist ! Chiquita is waking. 



176 MERCEDES 

URSULA, queridously 

Hist ? Nay, I will say my say in spite of all. 
Hist ? God save us ! who taught thee to say hist 
to thy elders ? Ay, ay, who taught thee ? . . . 
What day is it ? 

MERCEDES, aside 

How sharp she is awhiles ! (Aloud} Pardon, 
pardon ! Here is little Chiquita, with both eyes 
wide open, to help me beg thy forgiveness. (Bends 
over the cradle) See, she has a smile for grandmother. 
. . . Ah, no, little one, I have no milk for thee; 
the trouble has taken it all. Nay, cry not, dainty, 
or that will break my heart. 

URSULA 

Sing to her, nieta. What is it you sing that 
always hushes her ? 'T is gone from me. 

MERCEDES 

I know not. 

URSULA 

Bethink thee. 

MERCEDES 

I cannot. Ah the rhyme of The Three Little 
White Teeth ? 



MERCEDES 177 

URSULA, clapping her hands 

Ay, ay, that is it ! 

MERCEDES rocks the child, and sings 

Who is it opens her blue bright eye, 
Bright as the sea and blue as the sky ? 

Chiquita ! 

Who has the smile that comes and goes 
Like sunshine over her mouth's red rose ? 

Muchachita ! 

What is the softest laughter heard, 
Gurgle of brook or trill of bird, 

Chiquita ? 

Nay, 't is thy laughter makes the rill 
Hush its voice and the bird be still, 

Muchachita ! 

Ah, little flower-hand on my breast, 
How it soothes me and gives me rest ! 

Chiquita ! 

What is the sweetest sight I know? 
Three little white teeth in a row, 
Three little white teeth in a row, 

Muchachita ! 

As Mercedes finishes the song, a roll of drums is heard in the 
calle. At the first tap she starts and listens intently, then 
assumes a stolid air. The sound approaches the door and 
suddenly ceases. 



1 78 MERCEDES 

SCENE III 
LABOISSIERE, MERCEDES, then SOLDIERS 

LABOISSIERE, outside 

A sergeant and two men to follow me ! (Mutters) 
Curse me if there is so much as a mouse left in the 
whole village. Not a drop of wine, and the bread 

burnt tO a Crisp the SCetiratS ! (Appears at the threshold') 

Hulloa ! what is this ? An old woman and a young 
one an Andalusian by the arch of her instep and 
the length of her eyelashes ! (in Spanish) Girl, what 
are you doing here ? 

MERCEDES, in French 

Where should I be, monsieur ? 

LABOISSIERE 

You speak French ? 

MERCEDES 

Caramba ! since you speak Spanish. 

LABOISSIERE 

It was out of politeness. But talk your own jar- 
gon it is a language that turns to honey on the 
tongue of a pretty woman. (Aside) It was my luck 
to unearth the only woman in the place ! The cap- 
tain's white blackbird has flown, bag and baggage, 



MERCEDES 179 

thank Heaven ! Poor Louvois, what a grim face 
he made over the empty nest ! (Aloud) Your neigh- 
bors have gone. Why are you not with them ? 

MERCEDES, pointing to Ursula. 

It is my grandmother, senor ; she is very old. 

LABOISSIERE 

So ? You could not carry her off, and you re- 
mained ? 

MERCEDES 

Precisely. 

LABOISSIERE 

That was like a brave girl. (Touching his cap) I sa- 
lute valor whenever I meet it. Why have all the 
villagers fled ? 

MERCEDES 

Did they wish to be massacred ? 

LABOISSIERE, shrugging his shoulders 

And you ? 

MERCEDES 

It would be too much glory for a hundred and 
eighty French soldiers to kill one poor peasant girl. 
And then to come so far ! 



i8o MERCEDES 

LABOISSIERE, aside 

She knows our very numbers, the fox ! How 
she shows her teeth ! 

MERCEDES 

Besides, senor, one can die but once. 

LABOISSIERE 

That is often enough. Why did your people 
waste the bread and wine ? 

MERCEDES 

That yours might neither eat the one nor drink 
the other. We do not store food for our ene- 
mies. 

LABOISSIERE 

They could not take away the provisions, so they 
destroyed them ? 

MERCEDES, mockingly 

Nothing escapes you ! 

LABOISSIERE 

Is that your child ? 

MERCEDES 

Yes, the hija is mine. 



MERCEDES 181 

LABOISSIERE 

Where is your husband with the brigands yon- 
der? 

MERCEDES 

My husband ? 

LABOISSIERE 

Your lover, then. 

MERCEDES 

I have no lover. My husband is dead. 

LABOISSIERE 

I think you are lying now. He 's a guerrilla. 

MERCEDES 

If he were, I should not deny it. What Spanish 
woman would rest her cheek upon the bosom that 
has not a carabine pressed against it this day ? It 
were better to be a soldier's widow than a coward's 
wife. 

LABOISSIERE, aside 

The little demon ! But she is ravishing ! She 
would have upset St. Anthony, this one- -if he had 
belonged to the Second Chasseurs ! What is to 
be done ? Theoretically, I am to pass my sword 
through her body ; practically, I shall make love 



i82 MERCEDES 

to her in ten minutes more, though her readiness to 
become a widow is not altogether pleasing. (Aloud) 
Here, sergeant, go report this matter to the cap- 
tain. He is in the posada at the farther end of the 
square. 

Exit sergeant. Shouts of exultation and laughter are heard 
outside, and presently three or four soldiers enter, bearing 
hams and a skin of wine. Mercedes gives a start. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Voila, lieutenant ! 

LABOISSIERE 

Where did you get that ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

In a cellar hard by, hidden under some rushes. 

THIRD SOLDIER 

There are five more skins of wine like this jolly 
fellow in his leather jacket. Pray order a division 
of the booty, my lieutenant, for we are as dry as 
herrings in a box. 

LABOISSIERE 
A moment, my braves. (Looks at Mercedes significantly) 

Woman, is that wine good ? 

MERCEDES 

The vintage was poor this year, senor. 



MERCEDES 183 

LABOISSIERE 

I mean is that wine good for a Frenchman to 
drink ? 

MERCEDES 

Why not, sefior ? 

LABOISSIERE, sternly 

Yes or no ? 

MERCEDES 

Yes. 

LABOISSIERE 

Why was it not served like the rest, then ? 

MERCEDES 

They hid a few skins, thinking to come back for 
it when you were gone. An ill thing does not last 
forever. 

LABOISSIERE 

Open it, some one, and fetch me a glass. (To 
Mercedes) You will drink this. 

MERCEDES, coldly 

When I am thirsty I drink. 



LABOISSIERE 

Pardieu ! this time you shall drink because /am 
thirsty. 



1 84 MERCEDES 

MERCEDES 

As you will. (Empties the glass) To the King. 

LABOISSIERE 

That was an impudent toast. I would have pre- 
ferred the Emperor or even Godoy ; but no matter 
each after his kind. To whom will the small- 
bones drink ? 

MERCEDES 

The child, senor ? 

LABOISSIERE 

Yes, the child ; she is pale and sickly-looking ; a 
draught will do her no harm. All the same, she 
will grow up and make some man wretched. 

MERCEDES 

But, senor 

LABOISSIERE 

Do you hear ? 

MERCEDES 

But Chiquita, senor she is so little, only thir- 
teen months old, and the wine is strong ! 

LABOISSIERE 

She shall drink. 



MERCEDES 185 

MERCEDES 

No, no ! 

LABOISSIERE 

I have said it, sacre nom 

MERCEDES 

Give it me, then. (Takes the glass and holds it to the child' 1 * 
lips] 

LABOISSIERE, watching her closely 

Woman ! your hand trembles. 

MERCEDES 

Nay, it is Chiquita swallows so fast. See ! she 
has taken it all. Ah, senor, it is a sad thing to 
have no milk for the little one. Are you content ? 

LABOISSIERE 

Yes ; I now see that the men may quench their 
thirst without fear. One cannot be too cautious in 
this hospitable country ! Fall to, my children ; but 
first, a glass for your lieutenant. [Drinks 

URSULA 

Ay, ay, the young forget the old . . . forget the 
old. 

LABOISSIERE, laughing 

Why, the depraved old sorceress ! But she is 



i86 MERCEDES 

right. She should have her share. Place aux 
dames! A cup, somebody, for Madame la Dia- 
blesse ! 

MERCEDES, aside 

Jose'-Maria ! 

One of the men carries wine to Ursula. Mercedes sits on 
the stool beside the cradle, resting her forehead on her 
palms. Laboissiere stretches himself on the settle. Sev- 
eral soldiers come in, and fill their canteens from the wine- 
skin. They stand in groups, talking in undertones among 
themselves. 

URSULA rises from her chair 

The drink has warmed me to the heart, Mer- 
cedes ! Said I not there was dancing on the plaza ? 
'T is but a step from here. 'T would do these old 
eyes good to look once more upon the dancers. 
The music drags me yonder! (Wanderingiy) Nay, 
take away your hands, Mercedes a plague upon 

ye ! {.Goes out 

LABOISSIERE suddenly starts to his feet and dasJies his glass on the floor 

The child! look at the child! What is the 
matter with it ? It turns livid it is dying ! Com- 
rades, we are poisoned ! 

MERCEDES rises hastily and throws her mantilla over the cradle 

Yes, you are poisoned! Al fuego al fuego 
todos al fuego !* You to perdition, we to heaven ! 

[ The soldiers advance towards Mercedes 

1 To the flames to the flames all of you to the flames ! 



MERCEDES 187 

LABOISSIERE, interposing 

Leave her to me ! Quick, some of you, go warn 
the others ! (Unsheathes his sword) I end where I ought 
to have begun. 

MERCEDES, tearing aside Jier neckerchief 

Strike here, sefior. . . . 



LOUVOIS enters, and halts between the two with a dazed expression ; he 
glances from Laboissiere to ttie woman, and catches his breath 

Mercedes ! 

LABOISSIERE 

* 

Louvois, we are dead men ! Beware of her, she 
is a fiend ! Kill her without a word ! The drink 
already throttles me I I cannot breathe here. 

[Staggers out, followed wildly by the soldiers 



SCENE IV 
Louvois, MERCEDES 

LOUVOIS 
What does he say ? 

MERCEDES 

You heard him. 



1 88 MERCEDES 

LOUVOIS 
His WOrds have no Sense. (Advancing towards her) 

Oh, why are you in this place, Mercedes ? 

MERCEDES, recoiling 

I am here, senor 

LOUVOIS 

You call me senor you shrink from me 

MERCEDES 

Because we Spaniards do not desert those who 
depend upon us. 

LOUVOIS 

Is that a reproach ? Ah, cruel ! Have you for- 
gotten 

MERCEDES 

I have forgotten nothing. I have had cause to 
remember all. I remember, among the rest, that 
a certain wounded French officer was cared for in 
this village as if he had been one of our own people 
and now he returns to massacre us. 

LOUVOIS 
Mercedes ! 

MERCEDES 

I remember the morning, nearly two years ago, 



MERCEDES 189 

when Padre Jose'f brought me your letter. You 
had stolen away in the night like a deserter ! 
Ah, that letter- -how it pierced my heart, and yet 
bade me live ! Because it was full of those smooth 
oaths which women love, I carried it in my bosom 
for a twelvemonth ; then for another twelvemonth 
I carried it because I hoped to give it back to you. 

( Takes a paper from her bosovi) See, SCflOr, what slight 
tilings WOrds are! (.Tears the paper into small pieces^ which she 
scatters at hisfeef) 

LOUVOIS 

Ah! 

MERCEDES 

Sometimes it comforted me to think that you 
were dead. Senor, 't is better to be dead than false 
and you were false ! 

LOUVOIS 

Not I, by all your saints and mine ! It is you 
who have broken faith. I should be the last of 
men if I had deserted you. Why, even a dog has 
gratitude. How could I now look you in the face ? 

MERCEDES 

'T was an ill day you first did so ! 

LOUVOIS 

Listen to me ! 



190 MERCEDES 

MERCEDES 

Too many times I have listened. Nay, speak 
not ; I might believe you ! 

LOUVOIS 

If I do not speak the truth, despise me ! Since 
I left Arguano I have been at Lisbon, Irun, Aran- 
juez, among the mountains I know not where ; 
but ever in some spot whence it was impossible to 
send you tidings. A wall of fire and steel shut me 
from you. Thrice I have had my letters brought 
back to me with the bearers' blood upon them ; 
thrice I have trusted to messengers whose treachery 
I now discover. For a chance bit of worthless gold 
they broke the seals, and wrecked our lives ! Ah, 
Mercedes, when my silence troubled you, why did 
you not read the old letter again ! If the words you 
had of mine lost their value, it was because they 
were like those jewels in the padre's story, which 
changed their color when the wearer proved un- 
faithful. 

MERCEDES 

Aquilles ! 

LOUVOIS 

Though I could not come to you nor send to 
you, I never dreamed I was forgotten. I used to 
say to myself: "A week, a month, a year what 



MERCEDES 191 

does it matter ? That brown girl is as true as 
steel ! ' I think I bore a charmed life in those 
days ; I grew to believe that neither sword nor 
bullet could touch me until I held you in my arms 

again. ( The girl stands with her hands crossed upon her bosom, and 
looks at him -with a growing light in her eyes') It Was the day 

before yesterday that our brigade returned to 
Burgos at last ! at last ! O love, my eyes were 
hungry for you ! Then that dreadful order came. 
Arguano had been to me what Mecca is to the Mo- 
hammedan a shrine to be reached through toil 
and thirst and death. Oh, what a grim freak it 
was of fate, that I should lead a column against 
Arguano my shrine, my Holy Land ! 

Mercedes moves swiftly across the room, and kneeling on the 
flag-stones near Louvois's feet begins to pick up the frag- 
ments of the letter. He suddenly stoops and takes her by 
the wrists. 

Mercedes ! 

MERCEDES 

Ah, but I was so unhappy! Was I unhappy? 

I forget. (Looks up in his face and laughs) It is SO Very 

long ago ! An instant of heaven would make one 
forget a century of hell ! When I hear your voice, 
two years are as yesterday. It was not I, but some 
poor girl I used to know who was like to die for 
you. It was not I I have never been anything 
but happy. Nay, I needs must weep a little for 



192 MERCEDES 

her, the days were so heavy to that poor girl. And 
when you go away again, as go you must 

LOUVOIS 

I shall take you with me, Mercedes. Do you 
understand ? You are to go with me to Burgos. 
(Aside) What a blank look she wears ! She does 
not seem to understand. 

MERCEDES, abstractedly 

With you to Burgos ? I was there once, in the 
great cathedral, and saw the bishops in their golden 
robes, and all the jewelled windows ablaze in the 
sunset. But with you ? Am I dreaming this ? The 
very room has grown unfamiliar to me. The cru- 
cifix yonder, at which I have knelt a hundred times, 
was it always there ? My head is full of unwonted 
visions. I think I hear music and the sounds of 
castanets, like poor old Ursula. Those cries in 
the calle is it a merry-meeting ? Ah ! what a 
pain struck my heart then ! O God ! I had for- 
gotten ! (Clutches his arm and pushes him from her) 

you drunk wine this day ? 

LOUVOIS 
Why, Mercedes, how strange you are ! 

MERCEDES 

No, no ! have you drunk wine ? 



MERCEDES 193 

LOUVOIS 

Well, yes, a cup without. What then ? How 
white you are ! 

MERCEDES 

Quick ! let me look you in the face. I wish to 
tell you something. You loved me once ... it was 
in May . . . your wound is quite well now ? No, no, 
not that ! All things slip from me. Chiquita nay, 
hold me closer, I do not see you. Into the sun- 
light into the sunlight! 

LOUVOIS 
She is fainting ! 

MERCEDES 

I am dying I am poisoned. The wine was 
drugged for the French. 'T was Pedro Mendez did 
it, who hated all Frenchmen because of you. I 
was desperate. Chiquita there in the cradle 

She is dead and I [Sinks down at his feet 

LOUVOIS, stooping- over her 

Mercedes ! Mercedes ! 

After an interval a measured tramp is heard outside. A ser. 
geant with a file of soldiers in disorder enters the hut. 



194 MERCEDES 

SCENE V 
SERGEANT and SOLDIERS 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Behold ! he has killed the murderess. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

If she had but twenty lives now ! 

THIRD SOLDIER 

That would not bring back the brave Laboissiere 
and the rest. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

Sapristi, no ! but it would give us life for life. 

FOURTH SOLDIER 

Mise'ricorde ! are twenty 

SERGEANT 

Hold yOUr peace, all Of yOU! (Advances and salutes 
Louvois, who is half kneeling beside the body of the woman) My 

captain ! (Aside) He does not answer me. (Lays his 

hand hurriedly on Louvois"'s shoulder and starts) SilenCC, there ! 

and stand uncovered. He is dead ! 

Curtain 



FOOTNOTES 

A BOOK OF QUATRAINS 



TO THE READER 

READER, you must take this verse 
As you take to wife a maiden 
With her faults and virtues laden 
Both for better and for worse. 



DAY AND NIGHT 

DAY is a snow-white Dove of heaven 
That from the East glad message brings : 
Night is a stealthy, evil Raven, 
Wrapped to the eyes in his black wings. 

MAPLE LEAVES 

OCTOBER turned my maple's leaves to gold ; 
The most are gone now ; here and there one lingers : 
Soon these will slip from out the twigs' weak hold, 
Like coins between a dying miser's fingers. 

195 



196 FOOTNOTES 

A CHILD'S GRAVE 

A LITTLE mound with chipped headstone, 
The grass, ah me ! uncut about the sward, 

Summer by summer left alone 
With one white lily keeping watch and ward. 

PESSIMIST AND OPTIMIST 

THIS one sits shivering in Fortune's smile, 

Taking his joy with bated, doubtful breath. 
This other, gnawed by hunger, all the while 
Laughs in the teeth of Death. 

GRACE AND STRENGTH 

MANOAH'S son, in his blind rage malign 
Tumbling the temple down upon his foes, 
Did no such feat as yonder delicate vine 
That day by day un tired holds up a rose. 

FROM THE SPANISH 

To him that hath, we are told, 
Shall be given. Yes, by the Cross ! 
To the rich man fate sends gold, 
To the poor man loss on loss. 



FOOTNOTES 197 

MASKS 

BLACK Tragedy lets slip her grim disguise 
And shows you laughing lips and roguish eyes ; 
But when, unmasked, gay Comedy appears, 
How wan her cheeks are, and what heavy tears ! 

COQUETTE 

OR light or dark, or short or tall, 
She sets a springe to snare them all ; 
All 's one to her above her fan 
She 'd make sweet eyes at Caliban. 

EPITAPHS 

Honest lago. When his breath was fled 
Doubtless these words were carven at his head. 
Such lying epitaphs are like a rose 
Tha v in unlovely earth takes root and grows. 

POPULARITY 

SUCH kings of shreds have wooed and won her, 

Such crafty knaves her laurel owned, 
It has become almost an honor 
Not to be crowned. 



198 FOOTNOTES 

CIRCUMSTANCE 

LINKED to a clod, harassed, and sad 
With sordid cares, she knew not life was sweet 
Who should have moved in marble halls, and had 

Kings and crown-princes at her feet. 

SPENDTHRIFT 

THE fault 's not mine, you understand : 

God shaped my palm so I can hold 
But little water in my hand 
And not much gold. 

THE TWO MASKS 

I GAVE my heart its freedom to be gay 
Or grave at will, when life was in its May ; 
So I have gone, a pilgrim through the years, 
With more of laughter in my scrip than tears. 

MYRTILLA 

THIS is the difference, neither more nor less, 

Between Medusa's and Myrtilla's face : 
The former slays us with its awfulness, 
The latter with its grace. 



FOOTNOTES 199 

ON HER BLUSHING 

Now the red wins upon her cheek ; 

Now white with crimson closes 
In desperate struggle so to speak, 
A War of Roses. 



ON A VOLUME OF ANONYMOUS POEMS 
ENTITLED "A MASQUE OF POETS" 

VAIN is the mask. Who cannot at desire 
Name every Singer in the hidden choir ? 
That is a thin disguise which veils with care 
The face, but lets the changeless heart lie bare. 



THE DIFFERENCE 

SOME weep because they part, 
And languish broken-hearted, 
And others O my heart ! 
Because they never parted. 



ON READING 

GREAT thoughts in crude, unshapely verse set forth 
Lose half their preciousness, and ever must. 
Unless the diamond with its own rich dust 
Be cut and polished, it seems little worth. 



200 FOOTNOTES 

THE ROSE 

FIXED to her necklace, like another gem, 
A rose she wore the flower June made for her; 
Fairer it looked than when upon the stem, 
And must, indeed, have been much happier. 



MOONRISE AT SEA 

UP from the dark the moon begins to creep ; 
And now a pallid, haggard face lifts she 
Above the water-line : thus from the deep 
A drowned body rises solemnly. 



ROMEO AND JULIET 

FROM mask to mask, amid the masquerade, 
Young Passion went with challenging, soft breath : 
Art Love '? he whispered ; art thou Love, sweet maid ' ? 
Then Love, with glittering eyelids, I am Death. 

HOSPITALITY 

WHEN friends are at your hearthside met, 
Sweet courtesy has done its most 
If you have made each guest forget 
That he himself is not the host. 




' MOONRISE AT SEA." Pasje 'JOO. 



FOOTNOTES 201 

HUMAN IGNORANCE 

WHAT mortal knows 
Whence come the tint and odor of the rose ? 

What probing deep 
Has ever solved the mystery of sleep ? 

FROM EASTERN SOURCES 



IN youth my hair was black as night, 
My life as white as driven snow : 
As white as snow my hair is now, 
And that is black which once was white. 



ii 

No wonder Hafiz wrote such verses, when 
He had the bill of nightingale for pen ; 
Nor that his lyrics were divine 
Whose only ink was tears and wine. 



in 

A poor dwarf's figure, looming through the dense 
Mists of a mountain, seemed a shape immense, 
On seeing which, a giant, in dismay, 
Took to his heels and ran away. 



202 FOOTNOTES 

MEMORIES 

Two things there are with Memory will abide, 
Whatever else befall, while life flows by : 
That soft cold hand-touch at the altar side ; 
The thrill that shook you at your child's first cry. 

EVIL EASIER THAN GOOD 

ERE half the good I planned to do 
Was done, the short-breathed day was through. 
Had my intents been dark instead of fair 
I had done all, and still had time to spare. 

FIREFLIES 

SEE where at intervals the firefly's spark 
Glimmers, and melts into the fragrant dark ; 
Gilds a leaf's edge one happy instant, then 
Leaves darkness all a mystery again ! 

PROBLEM 

So closely knit are mind and brain, 
Such web and woof are soul and clay, 
How is it, being rent in twain, 
One part shall live, and one decay ? 



FOOTNOTES 203 

ORIGINALITY 

No bird has ever uttered note 
That was not in some first bird's throat ; 
Since Eden's freshness and man's fall 
No rose has been original. 



KISMET 

A GLANCE, a word and joy or pain 
Befalls ; what was no more shall be. 
How slight the links are in the chain 

O 

That binds us to our destiny ! 



A HINT FROM HERRICK 

No slightest golden rhyme he wrote 
That held not something men must quote ; 
Thus by design or chance did he 
Drop anchors to posterity. 

PESSIMISTIC POETS 

I LITTLE read those poets who have made 
A noble art a pessimistic trade, 
And trained their Pegasus to draw a hearse 
Through endless avenues of drooping verse. 



204 FOOTNOTES 

POINTS OF VIEW 

BONNET in hand, obsequious and discreet, 

The butcher that served Shakespeare with his meat 

Doubtless esteemed him little, as a man 

Who knew not how the market prices ran. 



QUITS 

IF my best wines mislike thy taste, 
And my best service win thy frown, 
Then tarry not, I bid thee haste ; 
There 's many another Inn in town. 



SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 

AN ODE 



THE long years come and go, 

And the Past, 

The sorrowful, splendid Past, 
With its glory and its woe, 

Seems never to have been. 
The bugle's taunting blast 
Has died away by Southern ford and glen : 
The mock-bird sings unf lightened in its dell ; 
The ensanguined stream flows free of stain ; 
Where once the hissing death-bolt fell, 
And all along the artillery's level lines 

Leapt flames of hell, 
The planter smiles upon the sprouting grain, 

And tends his vines. 
Seems never to have been ? 

O sombre days and grand, 

How ye crowd back again, 
Seeing our heroes' graves are green 



205 



206 SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 

By the Potomac and the Cumberland, 
And in the hush of many a lonely glen ! 



ii 



Now while the pale arbutus in our woods 
Wakes to faint life beneath the dead year's leaves, 
And the bleak North lets loose its wailing broods 
Of winds upon us, and the gray sea grieves 
Along our coast ; while yet the Winter's hand 
Heavily presses on New England's heart, 
And Spring averts the sunshine of her eyes 
Lest some vain cowslip should untimely start . 
While we are housed in this rude season's gloom, 
In this rude land, 

Bereft of warmth and bloom, 
We know, far off beneath the Southern skies, 
Where the flush blossoms mock our drifts of snow 
And the lithe vine unfolds its emerald sheen 
On many a sunny hillside there, we know 

Our heroes' graves are green. 



in 



The long years come, but they 

Come not again ! 
Through vapors dense and gray 




CJ3 

z 

UJ 



01 

z 



DC 
O. 



SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 207 

Steals back the May, 
But they come not again 
Swept by the battle's fiery breath 
Down unknown ways of death. 
How can our fancies help but go 
Out from this realm of mist and rain, 
Out from this realm of sleet and snow, 
When the first Southern violets blow ? 



IV 



While yet the year is young 
Many a garland shall be hung 

In our gardens of the dead j 
On obelisk and urn 
Shall the lilac's purple burn, 

And the wild-rose leaves be shed. 
And afar in the woodland ways, 
Through the rustic church-yard gate 
Matrons and maidens shall pass, 
Striplings and white-haired men, 
And, spreading aside the grass, 
Linger at name and date, 
Remembering old, old days ! 
And the lettering on each stone 
Where the mould's green breath has blown 
Tears shall wash clear again. 



208 SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 



But far away to the South, in the sultry, stricken 

land 
On the banks of turbid streams gurgling among 

their reeds, 
By many a drear morass, where the long-necked 

pelican feeds, 

By many a dark bayou, and blinding dune of sand, 
By many a cypress swamp where the cayman seeks 

its prey, 
In many a moss-hung wood, the twilight's haunt by 

day, 
And down where the land's parched lip drinks at 

the salt sea-waves, 
And the ghostly sails glide by there are piteous, 

nameless graves. 

Their names no tongue may tell, 
Buried there where they fell, 
The bravest of our braves ! 
Never sweetheart, or friend, 

Wan pale mother, or bride, 
Over these mounds shall bend, 

Tenderly putting aside 

The unremembering grass ! 
Never the votive wreath 
For the unknown brows beneath, 

Never a tear, alas ! 



SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 209 

How can our fancies help but go 
Out from this realm of mist and rain, 
Out from this realm of sleet and snow, 
When the first Southern violets blow ? 
How must our thought bend over them, 
Blessing the flowers that cover them 
Piteous, nameless graves ! 



VI 



Ah, but the life they gave 
Is not shut in the grave : 
The valorous spirits freed 
Live in the vital deed ! 
Marble shall crumble to dust, 
Plinth of bronze and of stone, 
Carved escutcheon and crest 
Silently, one by one, 
The sculptured lilies fall j 
Softly the tooth of the rust 
Gnaws through the brazen shield j 
Broken, and covered with stains, 
The crossed stone swords must yield 
Mined by the frost and the drouth, 
Smitten by north and south, 
Smitten by east and west, 
Down comes column and all ! 
But the great deed remains. 



210 SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 

VII 

When we remember how they died 

In dark ravine and on the mountain-side, 

In leaguered fort and fire-encircled town, 

Upon the gunboat's splintered deck, 

And where the iron ships went down 

How their dear lives were spent, 

In the crushed and reddened wreck, 

By lone lagoons and streams, 

In the weary hospital-tent, 

In the cockpit's crowded hive 

How they languished and died 

In the black stockades it seems 

Ignoble to be alive ! 

Tears will well to our eyes, 

And the bitter doubt will rise 

But hush ! for the strife is done, 

Forgiven are wound and scar ; 

The fight was fought and won 

Long since, on sea and shore, 

And every scattered star 

Set in the blue once more : 

We are one as before, 

With the blot from our scutcheon gone ! 

VIII 

So let our heroes rest 
Upon your sunny breast : 



SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND 211 

Keep them, O South, our tender hearts and true, 
Keep them, O South, and learn to hold them dear 

From year to year ! 

Never forget, 

Dying for us, they died for you. 
This hallowed dust should knit us closer yet. 



IX 

Hark ! 't is the bluebird's venturous strain 
High on the old fringed elm at the gate, 
Sweet-voiced, valiant on the swaying bough, 

Alert, elate, 

Dodging the fitful spits of snow 
New England's poet laureate 
Telling us Spring has come again ! 
1875 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 



TO 
EDWIN BOOTH 

FROM 
HIS FRIEND AND COMRADE 

THESE MANY YEARS 
1890. 

BEFORE you reach the slender, high-arched bridge, 

Like to a heron with one foot in stream, 

The hamlet breaks upon you through green 

boughs 

A square stone church within a place of graves 
Upon the slope ; gray houses oddly grouped, 
With plastered gables set with crossed oak- 
beams, 

And roofs of yellow tile and purplish slate. 
That is The Falcon, with the swinging sign 
And rustic bench, an ancient hostelry ; 
Those leaden lattices were hung on hinge 
In good Queen Bess's time, so old it is. 

On ridge-piece, gable-end, or dove-cot vane, 

213 



214 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

A gilded weathercock at intervals 

o 

Glimmers an angel on the wing, most like, 
Of local workmanship ; for since the reign 
Of pious Edward here have carvers thrived, 
In saints'-heads skilful and winged cherubim 
Meet for rich abbeys. From yon crumbling 

tower, 

Whose brickwork base the cunning Romans laid 
And now of no use else except to train 
The ivy of an idle legend on 
You see, such lens is this thin Devon air, 
If it so chance no fog comes rolling in, 
The Torridge where its branching crystal spreads 
To join the Taw. Hard by from a chalk cliff 
A torrent leaps : not lovelier Sappho was 
Giving herself all silvery to the sea 
From that Leucadian rock. Beneath your feet 
Lie sand and surf in curving parallels. 
Off shore, a buoy gleams like a dolphin's back 
Dripping with brine, and guards a sunken reef 
Whose sharp incisors have gnawed many a keel ; 
There frets the sea and turns white at the lip, 
And in ill-weather lets the ledge show fangs. 
A very pleasant nook in Devon, this. 

Upon the height of old was Wyndham Towers, 
Clinging to rock there, like an eagle's nest, 
With moat and drawbridge once, and good for siege ; 
Four towers it had to front the diverse winds : 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 215 

Built God knows when, all record being lost, 
Locked in the memories of forgotten men. 
In Caesar's day, a pagan temple ; next 
A monastery ; then a feudal hold ; 
Later a manor, and at last a ruin. 
Such knowledge have we of it, vaguely caught 
Through whispers fallen from tradition's lip. 
This shattered tower, with crenellated top 
And loops for archers, alone marks the spot, 
Looming forlornly a gigantic harp 
Whereon the invisible fingers of the wind 
Its fitful and mysterious dirges play. 

Here dwelt, in the last Tudor's virgin reign, 
One Richard Wyndham, Knight and Gentleman 
(The son of Rawdon, slain near Calais wall 
When Bloody Mary lost her grip on France), 
A lonely wight that no kith had nor kin 
Save one, a brother by ill-fortune's spite 
A brother, since 't were better to have none 
Of late not often seen at Wyndham Towers, 
Where he in truth but lenten welcome got 
When to that gate his errant footstep strayed. 
Yet he held dear those gray majestic walls, 
Time-stained and crusted with the sea's salt breath ; 
There first his eyes took color of the sea, 
There did his heart stay when fate drove him thence, 
And there at last but that we tell anon. 
Darrell they named him, for an ancestor 



216 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

Whose bones were whitening in Holy Land, 
The other Richard ; a crusader name, 
Yet it was Darrell had the lion-heart. 

No love and little liking served this pair, 
In look and word unpaired as white and black 
Of once rich bough the last unlucky fruit. 
The one, for straightness like a Norland pine 
Set on some precipice's perilous edge, 
Intrepid, handsome, little past blown youth, 
Of all pure thought and brave deed amorous, 
Moulded the court's high atmosphere to breathe, 
Yet liking well the camp's more liberal air 
A poet, soldier, courtier, 't was the mode. 
The other as a glow-worm to a star 
Suspicious, morbid, passionate, self-involved, 
The soul half eaten out with solitude, 
Corroded, like a sword-blade left in sheath 
Asleep and lost to action in a word, 
A misanthrope, a miser, a soured man, 
One fortune loved not and looked at askance. 
Yet he a pleasant outward semblance had. 
Say what you will, and paint things as you may. 
The devil is not black, with horn and hoof, 
As gossips picture him : he is a person 
Quite scrupulous of doublet and demeanor, 
As was this Master Wyndham of the Towers, 
Now latterly in most unhappy case, 
Because of matters to be here set forth. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 217 

A thing of not much moment, as life goes, 
A thing a man with some philosophy 
Had idly brushed aside, as 't were a gnat 
That winged itself between him and the light, 
Had, through the crooked working of his mind, 
Brought Wyndham to a very grievous pass. 
Yet 't was a grapestone choked Anacreon 
And hushed his song. There is no little thing 
In nature : in a raindrop's compass lie 
A planet's elements. This Wyndham's woe 
Was one Griselda, daughter to a man 
Of Bicleford, a shipman once, but since 
Turned soldier ; now in white-haired, wrinkled age 
Sitting beneath the olive, valiant still, 
With sword on nail above the chimney-shelf 
In case the Queen should need its edge again. 
An officer he was, though lowly born. 
The man aforetime, in the Netherlands 
And through those ever-famous French campaigns 
(Marry, in what wars bore he not a hand ?) 
In Rawdon Wyndham's troop of horse had served, 
And when he fell that day by Calais wall 
Had from the Frenchmen's pikes his body snatched, 
And so much saved of him, which was not much, 
The good knight being dead. For this deed's sake, 
That did enlarge itself in sorrow's eye, 
The widow deemed all guerdon all too small, 
And held her dear lord's servant and his girl, 
Born later, when that clash of steel was done, 



218 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

As her own kin, till she herself was laid 
In the earth and sainted elsewhere. The two sons 
Let cool the friendship : one in foreign parts 
Sought gold and honor ; and one stayed at home, 
The heir, and now of old friends negligent : 
Thus fortune hardens the ignoble heart. 

Griselda even as a little maid, 
Demure, but with more crotchets in the brain, 
I warrant you, than minutes to the hour, 
Had this one much misliked ; in her child-thought 
Confused him somehow with those cruel shapes 
Of iron men that up there at The Towers 
Quickened her pulse. For he was gaunt, his face, 
Mature beyond the logic of his years, 
Had in it something sinister and grim, 
Like to the visage pregnant fancy saw 
Behind the bars of each disused casque 
In that east chamber where the harness hung 
And dinted shields of Wyndhams gone to grace 
At Poitiers this one, this at Agincourt, 
That other on the sands of Palestine : 
A breed of fierce man-slayers, sire and son. 
Of these seemed Richard, with his steel cross-bow 
Killing the doves in very wantonness, 
The gentle doves that to the ramparts came 
For scattered crumbs, undreamful of all ill. 
Each well-sent bolt that pierced a snowy breast 
Straight to her own white-budding bosom went. 



\YYNDHAM TOWERS 219 

Fled were those summers now, and she had 

passed 

Out of the child-world of vain fantasy 
Where many a rainbow castle lay in ruin ; 
But to her mind, like wine-stain to a flask, 
The old distrust still clung, indelible, 
Holding her in her maidhood's serious prime 
Well pleased from his cold eyes to move apart, 
And in her humble fortunes dwell secure. 
Indeed, what was she?- -a poor soldier's girl, 
Merely a tenant's daughter. Times were changed, 
And life's bright web had sadder colors in 't : 
That most sweet gentle lady rest her soul ! 
Shrunk to an epitaph beside her lord's, 
And six lines shorter, which was all a shame ; 
Gaunt Richard heir; that other at earth's end, 
(The younger son that was her sweetheart once,)' 
Fighting the Spaniards, getting slain perchance ; 
And all dear old-time uses quite forgot. 
Slowly, unnoted, like the creeping rust 
That spreads insidious, had estrangement come, 
Until at last, one knew not how it fell, 
And little cared, if sober truth were said, 
She and the father no more climbed the hill 
To Twelfth Night festival or May-day dance, 
Nor commerce had with any at The Towers. 
Yet in a formless, misty sort of way 
The girl had place in W^yndham's mind- -the girl, 
Why, yes, beshrew him ! it was even she 



220 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

Whom his soft mother had made favorite of, 
And well-nigh spoiled, some dozen summers gone. 

Perhaps because dull custom made her tame, 
Or that she was not comely in the bud, 
Her sweetness halting like a tardy May 
That wraps itself in mist, and seems not fair, 
For this or finer reason undivined, 
His thought she touched not, and was glad withal 
When she did note how others took his eye 
And wore rue after. Thus was her white peace 
Undarkened till, it so befell, these two 
Meeting as they a hundred times had met 
On hill-path or at crossing of the weir, 
Her beauty broke on him like some rare flower 
That was not yesterday. Ev'n so the Spring 
Unclasps the girdle of its loveliness 
Abruptly, in the North here : long the drifts 
Linger in hollows, long on bough and briar 
No slight leaf ventures, lest the frost's keen tooth 
Nip it, and then all suddenly the earth 
Is nought but scent and bloom. So unto him 
Griselda's grace unclosed. Where lagged his wit 
That guessed not of the bud within the stem, 
Nor hint had of the flower within the bud ? 
If so much beauty had a tiger been, 
'T had eaten him ! In all the wave-washed length 
Of rocky Devon where was found her like 
For excellence of wedded red and white ? 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 221 

Here on that smooth and sunny field, her cheek, 

The hostile hues of Lancaster and York 

Did meet, and, blending, make a heavenly truce. 

This were indeed a rose a king might wear 

Upon his bosom. By St. Dunstan, now, 

Himself would wear it. Then by seeming chance 

He crossed her walks, and stayed her with discourse 

Devised adroitly; spoke of common things 

At first of days when his good mother lived, 

If 't were to live, to pass long dolorous hours 

Before his father's effigy in church ; 

Of one who then used often come to hall, 

Ever at Yule-tide, when the great log flamed 

Upon the hearth, and laugh and jest went round, 

And maidens strayed beneath the mistletoe, 

Making believe not see it, so got kissed 

Of one that liked not the wild morrice-dance, 

But in her sea-green kirtle stood at gaze, 

A timid little creature that was scared 

By dead men's armor. Nought there suffered 

change, 

Those empty shells of valor grew not old, 
Though something rusty. Would they fright her 

now 

Looked she upon them ? Held she in her mind 
('Twas Spring and loud the mavis piped outside) 
The day the Turkish helmet slipped its peg, 
And clashing on the floor, congealed her blood 
And sent both hands to terror-smitten eyes, 



222 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

She trembling, ready to yield up the ghost? 
Right merry was it! Finally he touched 
On matters nearer, things she had foreboded 
And this one time must needs lend hearing to, 
And end so sorry business ere woe came, 
Like a true maid and honest, as she was. 
So, tutoring the tremble on her lip 
And holding back hot tears, she gave reply 
With such discretion as straight tied his tongue, 
Albeit he lacked not boldness in discourse : 

" Indeed, indeed, sir, you speak but in jest ! 
Lightly, not meaning it, in courtier-way. 
I have heard said that ladies at the Court 
I judge them not ! - - have most forgiving ears, 
And list right willingly to idle words, 
Listen and smile and never stain a cheek. 
Yet not such words your father's son should use 
With me, my father's daughter. You forget 
What should most precious be to memory's heart, 
Love that dared death ; and so, farewell." Farewell 
It was in truth ; for after that one time, 
Though he had fain with passion-breathed vows 
Besieged that marble citadel her breast, 
He got no speech of her : she chose her walks ; 
Let only moon and star look on the face 
That could well risk the candor of the sun ; 
Ran not to lattice at each sound of hoof ; 
By stream or hedge-row plucked no pansies more, 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 223 

Fearing the sad fate of Persephone, 
Herself up-gathered in Sicilian fields ; 
At chapel for one needs to chapel go 
A-Sunday glanced not either right or left, 
But with black eyelash wedded to her cheek 
Knelt there impassive, like the marble girl 
That at the foot-end of his father's tomb s 
Inside the chancel where the Wyndhams lay, 
Through. the long years her icy vigil kept. 

As leaves turn into flame at the frost's touch, 
So Richard's heart on coldness fed its fire, 
And burned with surfeit of indifference. 
All flavor and complexion of content 
Went out of life ; what served once served no more. 
His hound and falcon ceased to pleasure him ; 
He read some musty folios there were 
On shelf but even in brave Froissart's page, 
Where, God knows, there be wounds enough, no 

herb 

Nor potion found he to purge sadness with. 
The gray dust gathered on the leaf unturned, 
And then the spider drew his thread across. 
Certain bright coins that he was used to count 
With thrill at fingers' ends uncounted lay, 
Suddenly worthless, like the conjurer's gold 
That midst the jeers and laughter of the crowd 
Turns into ashes in the rustic's hand. 
Soft idleness itself bore now a thorn 



224 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

Two-pronged with meditation and desire. 
The cold Griselda that would none of him ! 
The fair Griselda ! Not alone by day, 
With this most solid earth beneath his feet, 
But in the weird and unsubstantial sphere 
Of slumber did her beauty hold him thrall. 
Herself of late he saw not ; 't was a wraith 
He worshipped, a vain shadow. Thus he pined 
From dawn to dusk, and then from dusk to dawn, 
Of that miraculous infection caught 
From any-colored eyes, so they be sweet. 
Strange that a man should let a maid's slim foot 
Stamp on his happiness and quench it quite ! 

With what snail-pace the traitor time creeps by 
When one is out with fortune and undone ! 
How tauntingly upon the dial's plate 
The shadow's finger points the dismal hour ! 
Thus Wyndham, with hands clasped behind his 

back, 

Watching the languid and reluctant sun 
Fade from the metal disk beside the door. 
The hours hung heavy up there on the hill, 
Where life was little various at best 
And merriment had long since taken flight. 
Sometimes he sat and conned the flying clouds 
Till on dusk's bosom nestled her one star, 
And spoke no word, nor seemed alive at all, 
But a mere shape and counterfeit of life ; 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 225 

Or, urged by some swift hunger for green boughs, 

Would bid the hound to heel, and disappear 

Into the forest, with himself communing 

For lack of gossip. So do lonely men 

Make themselves tedious to their tedious selves. 

Thus he once passed in a white blaze of noon 

Under his oaks, and muttered as he went : 

11 ' My father's daughter ' and ' your father's son ' ! 
Faith, but it was a shrewd and nimble phrase, 
And left me with no fitting word to say. 
The wench hath wit and matter of her own, 
And beauty, that doth seldom mate with wit. 
Nature hath painted her a proper brown 
A russet-colored wench that knows her worth. 
And mincing, too should have her ruff propped 

up 

With supertasses, like a dame at Court, 
And go in cloth-of-gold. I '11 get a suit 
Of Genoa velvet, and so take her eye. 
Has she a heart ? The ladies of Whitehall 
Are not so skittish, else does Darrell lie 
Most villainously. Often hath he said 
The art of blushing 's a lost art at Court. 
If so, good riddance ! This one here lets love 
Play beggar to her prudery, and starve, 
Feeding him ever on looks turned aside. 
To be so young, so fair, and wise withal ! 
Lets love starve ? Nay, I think starves merely me, 



226 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

And gives to others gracious nourishment. 

For when was ever woman logical 

Both day and night-time ? Not since Adam fell 1 

I doubt a lover somewhere. What shrewd bee 

Hath buzzed betimes about this clover-top ? 

Belike some scrivener's clerk at Bideford, 

With long goose-quill and inkhorn at his thigh 

Methinks I see the parchment face of him ; 

Or one of those swashbuckler Devon lads 

That haunt the inn there, with red Spanish gold, 

Rank scurvy knaves, ripe fruit for gallows-tree ; 

Or else the sexton's son' : here Wyndham 

laughed, 

Though not a man of mirth ; indeed, a man 
Of niggard humor ; but that sexton's son 
Lean as the shadow cast by a church spire, 
Eyes deep in the sockets, noseless, high cheek- 
boned, 

Like nothing in the circle of this earth 
But a death's head that from a mural slab 
Within the chancel leers through sermon-time, 
Making a mock of poor mortality. 
The fancy touched him, and he laughed a laugh 
That from his noonday slumber roused an owl 
Snug in his oaken hermitage hard by. 
A very rare conceit - - the sexton's son ! 

Not he, forsooth ; he smacked of churchyard 
mould 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 227 

And musty odors of moth-eaten palls 

A living death, a walking epitaph ! 

No lover that for tingling flesh and blood 

To rest soft cheek on and change kisses with. 

Yet lover somewhere ; from his sly cocoon 

Time would unshell him. In the interim 

What was to do but wait, and mark who strolled 

Of evenings up the hill-path and made halt 

This side the coppice at a certain gate ? 

For by that chance which ever serves ill ends, 

Within the slanted shadow of The Towers 

The maid Griselda dwelt. Her gray scarred sire 

Had for cloth doublet changed the steel cuirass, 

The sword for gardener's fork, and so henceforth 

In the mild autumn and sundown of life, 

Moving erect among his curves and squares 

Of lily, rose, and purple flower-de-luce, 

Set none but harmless squadrons in the field 

Save now and then at tavern, where he posed, 

Tankard in hand and prattling of old days, 

A white-mustached epitome of wars. 

How runs the proverb touching him who waits ? 
W T ho waits shall have the world. Time's heir is he, 
Be he but patient. Thus the thing befell 
Wherefrom grew all this history of woe : 
Haunting the grounds one night, as his use was 
Who loved the dark as bats and owlets do, 
Wyndham got sound of voices in the air 



228 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

That did such strange and goblin changes ring 

As left him doubtful whence the murmurs came, 

Now here, now there, as they were winged things 

Such trick plays Echo upon hapless wights 

Chance-caught in lonely places where she dwells. 

Anon a laugh rang out, melodious, 

Like the merle's note when its ecstatic heart 

Is packed with summer-time ; then all was still 

So still the soul of silence seemed to grieve 

The loss of that sweet laughter. In his tracks 

The man stopped short, and listened. As he leaned 

And craned his neck, and peered into the gloom, 

And would the fabulous hundred eyes were his 

That Argus in the Grecian legend had, 

He saw two figures moving through a drift 

Of moonlight that lay stretched across the lawn : 

A man's tall shape, a slim shape close at side, 

Her palm in tender fashion pressed to his, 

The woven snood about her shoulders fallen, 

And from the sombre midnight of her hair 

An ardent face out-looking like a star 

As in a vision he saw this, for straight 

They vanished. Where those silvery shadows were 

Was nothing. Had he dreamed it ? Had he gone 

Mad with much thinking on her, and so made 

Ghosts of his own sick fancies ? Like a man 

Carved out of alabaster and set up 

Within a woodland, he stood rooted there, 

Glimmering wanly under pendent boughs. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 229 

Spell-bound he stood, in very woftil plight, 

Bewildered ; and then presently with shock 

Of rapid pulses hammering at his heart, 

As mad besiegers hammer at a gate, 

To life came back, and turned and would have 

flown 

From that accursed spot and all that was, 
When once more the girl's laughter witched the 

night, 

And melted, and the silence grieved anew. 
Like lead his feet were, and he needs must halt. 
Close upon this, but farther off, a voice 
From somewhere Echo at her trick again ! - 
Took up the rhyme of Sweetheart, sigh no more. 

It was with doubt and trembling 
I whispered in her ear. 
Go, take her answer, bird-on-bough, 
That all the world may hear 
Sweetheart, sigh no more ! 

Sing it, sing it, tawny throat, 
Upon the wayside tree, 
How fair she is, how true she is, 
How dear she is to me 
Sweetheart, sigh no more! 

Sing it, sing it, tawny throat, 
And through the summer long 



230 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

The winds among the clover-tops, 
And brooks, for all their silvery stops, 
Shall envy you the song 
Sweetheart, sigh no more, 

The fierce Malayans have an arrow steeped 
In some strange drug whose subtile properties 
Are such that if the point but prick the skin 
Death stays there. Like to that fell cruel shaft 
This slender rhyme was. Through the purple dark 
Straight home it sped, and into Wyndham's veins 
Its drop of sudden poison 'did distil. 
Now no sound was, save when a dry twig snapped 
And rustled softly down from bough to bough, 
Or on its pebbly shoals the narrow brook 
Made intermittent murmur. " So, 't is he ! ' 
Thus Wyndham breathing thickly, with his eyes 
Dilating in the darkness, " Darrell - -he ! 
I set my springe for other game than this ; 
Of hare or rabbit dreamed I, not of wolf. 
His frequent visitations have of late 
Perplexed me ; now the riddle reads itself. 
A proper man, a very proper man ! 
A fellow that burns Triniclado leaf 
And sends smoke through his nostril like a flue! 
A fop, a hanger-on of willing skirts 
A murrain on him ! Would Elizabeth 
In some mad freak had clapped him in the Tower 
Ay, through the Traitor's Gate. Would he were 
dead. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 231 

Within the year what worthy men have died, 
Persons of substance, civic ornaments, 
And here 's this gilt court-butterfly on wing ! 

thou most potent lightning in the cloud. 
Prick me this fellow from the face of earth ! 

1 would the Moors had got him in Algiers 
What time he harried them on land and sea, 
And done their will with scimitar or cord 
Or flame of fagot, and so made an end ; 

Or that some shot from petronel or bow 

Had winged him in the folly of his flight. 

Well had it been if the Inquisitors, 

With rack and screw, had laid black claw on him ! 5: 

In days whose chronicle is writ in blood 

The richest ever flowed in English veins 

Some foul mischance in this sort might have been ; 

For at dark Fortune's feet had Darrell flung 

In his youth's flower a daring gauntlet down. 

A beardless stripling, at that solemn hour 
When, breaking its frail filaments of clay, 
The mother's spirit soared invisible, 
The younger son, unhoused as well he knew, 
Had taken horse by night to London town, 
With right sore heart and nought else in his scrip 
But boyish hope to footing find at Court 
A page's place, belike, with some great lord, 
Or some small lord, that other proving shy 
Of merit that had not yet chipped its shell. 






WYNDHAM TOWERS 



Day after day, in weather foul or fair, 

With lackeys, hucksters, and the commoner sort, 

At Whitehall and Westminster he stood guard, 

Reading men's faces with inquiring eye. 

There the lords swarmed, some waspish and some 

bland, 

But none would pause at plucking of the sleeve 
To hearken to him, and the lad had died 
On London stones for lack of crust to gnaw 
But that he caught the age's malady, 
The something magical that was in air, 
And made men poets, heroes, demigods 
Made Shakespeare, Raleigh, Grenville, Oxenham, 
And set them stars in the fore-front of Time. 
In fine, young Darrell drew of that same air 
A valiant breath, and shipped with Francis Drake, 
Of Tavistock, to sail the Spanish seas 
And teach the heathen manners, with God's aid; 
And so, among lean Papists and black Moors, 
He, with the din of battle in his ears, 
Struck fortune. Who would tamely bide at home 
At beck and call of some proud swollen lord 
Not worth his biscuit, or at Beauty's feet 
Sit making sonnets, when was work to do 
Out yonder, sinking Philip's caravels 
At sea, and then by way of episode 
Setting quick torch * to pirate-nests ashore ? 

1 Sir Francis Drake called this " singeing the King of Spayne's 
beard." 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 233 

Brave sport to singe the beard o' the King of 

Spain ! 

Brave sport, but in the end he dreamed of home 
Of where the trout-brook lisped among the reeds, 
Of great chalk cliffs and leagues of yellow gorse, 
Of peaceful lanes, of London's roaring streets, 
The crowds, the shops, the pageants in Cheapside, 
And heard the trumpets blaring for the Queen 
When 't was the wind that whistled in the shrouds 
Off Cadiz. Ah, and softer dreams he had 
Of an unnamed and sweetest mystery, 
And from the marble of his soul's desire 
Hewed out the white ideal of his love 
A new Pygmalion. All things drew him home, 
This mainly. Foot on English earth once more, 
Dear earth of England ! his propitious fame 
A thorn in none but crooked Envy's side, 
He went cross-gartered, with a silken rose 
Fixed to his lovelock, diamond brooch at hat 
Looping one side up very gallantly, 
And changed his doublet's color twice a day. 
Ill fare had given his softer senses edge ; 
Good fortune, later, bade him come to dine, 
Mild Spenser's scholar, Philip Sidney's friend. 
So took he now his ease ; in Devonshire, 
When Town was dull, or he had need at heart 
For sight of Wyndham Towers against the sky ; 
But chiefly did he bask him by the Thames, 



234 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

For there 't was that Young England froze and 

thawed 
By turns in GLORIANA'S frown and smile. 

As some wild animal that gets a wound, 
And prescience hath of death, will drag itself 
Back to its cavern sullenly to die, 
And would not have heaven's airs for witnesses, 
So Wyndham, shrinking from the very stars 
And tell-tale places where the moonlight fell, 
Crept through the huddled shadows back to hall, 
And in a lonely room where no light was, 
Save what the moon made at the casement there, 
Sat pondering his hurt, and in the dark 
Gave audience to a host of grievances. 
For never comes reflection, gay or grave, 
But it brings with it comrades of its hue. 
So did he fall to thinking how his day 
Declined, and how his narrow life had run 
Obscurely through an age of great events 
Such as men never saw, nor will again 
Until the globe be riven by God's fire. 
Others had ventured for the Golden Fleece, 
Knaves of no parts at all, and got renown 
(By force of circumstance and not desert), 
While he up there on that rock-bastioned coast 
Had rotted like some old hulk's skeleton, 
Whose naked and bleached ribs the lazy tide 
Laps day by day, and no man thinks of more. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 235 

Then was jade Fortune in her lavish mood. 
Why had he not for distant Colchis sailed 
And been the Jason of these Argonauts ? 
True, some had come to block on Tower Hill, 
Or quittance made in a less noble sort ; 
Still they had lived, from life's high-mantling cup 
Had blown the bead. In such case, if one's head 
Be of its momentary laurel stripped 
And made a show of, stuck on Temple Bar 
Or at the Southwark end of London Bridge, 
What mattered it ? At worst man dies but once 
So far as known. One may not master death, 
But life should be one's lackey. He had been 
Time's dupe and bondman ; ever since his birth 
Had walked this planet with his eye oblique, 
Grasped what was worthless, what were most dear 

missed ; 

Missed love and fame, and all the goodly things 
Fame gets a man in England - - the Queen's smile, 
Which means, when she 's in humor, abbey-lands, 
Appointments, stars and ribbons for the breast, 
And that sleek adulation that takes shape 
In the down-drooping of obsequious lids 
When one ascends a stair or walks the pave. 
Good Lord ! but it was excellent to see 
How Expectation in the ante-room 
Crooks back to Greatness passing to the Queen 
" Kind sir ! ' " Sweet sir ! ' "I prithee speed my 

suit ! " 



236 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

'T was somewhat to be flattered, though by fools, 

For even a fool's coin hath a kind of ring. 

Yet after all- -thus did the grapes turn sour 

To master Fox, in fable who would care 

To moil and toil to gain a little fame, 

And have each rascal that prowls under heaven 

Stab one for getting it ? Had he wished power, 

The thing was in the market-place for sale 

At stated rates so much for a man's soul ! 

His was a haughty spirit that bent not, 

And one to rise had neecLto cringe and creep. 

So had his brother into favor crawled, 

Like the cold slug into the lily's heart, 

And battened in the sun. At thought of him, 

Forgotten for a moment, Wyndham winced, 

And felt his wound. " Why bides he not in Town 

With his blond lovelock and wench-luring ways 

There runs his fox ! What foul fiend sends him 

here 

To Wyndham Towers ? Is there not space enough 
In this our England he needs crowd me so ? 
Has London sack upon his palate staled, 
That he must come to sip my Devon cream ? 
Are all maids shut in nunneries save this one ? 
What magic philtre hath he given her 
To thaw the ice that melted not for me ? 
Rich is he now that at his setting forth 
Had not two silver pieces to his purse. 
It is his brave apparel dazzles her. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 237 

Thus puts he bound and barrier to my love. 
Another man were he abused as I ... 
I will no more of him ! If I but dared 
Nay, I dare not. I have fawn's blood, I think ; 
I would, and dare not ! ' Thrice the hooded clock 
Solemnly, like some old Carthusian monk 
With wrinkled face half seen beneath his cowl, 
Intoned the quarter. Memory went not back 
When this was not a most familiar sound, 
Yet as each stroke on the dead silence fell 
Wyndham turned, startled. Now the sanguine 

moon, 

To clouded opal changing momently, 
Rose sheer above the pine-trees' ragged edge, 
And through the wide - flung casement reaching 

hand 

With cold and spectral finger touched the plates 
Of his dead father's armor till it gleamed 
One mass of silver. There it stood complete, 
That august panoply which once struck dread 
To foemen on the sunny plains of France, 
Menacing, terrible, this instant stood, 
With vizard down and jousting-lance at charge 
As if that crumbled knight were quick within. 

A footfall on the shingle walk below 
Grated, a footfall light as Mercury's 
Disdaining earth, and Wyndham in the dark, 
Half crouched upon the settle with his nails 



238 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

Indenting the soft wood-work, held his breath. 
Then suddenly a blind rage like a flame 
Swept over him and hurled him to his feet 
Such rage as must have seized the soul of Cain 
Meeting his brother in the stubble-field. 
Anon came one that hummed a blithe sea-song, 
As he were fresh from tavern and brave cheer, 
And held the stars that blinked there in the blue 
Boon comrades. Singing in high-hearted way, 
His true-love's kiss a memory on his lip, 
Straight on he came to unrenowned end 
Whose dream had been in good plate mail to die 
On some well-foughten field, at set of sun, 
With glorious peal of trumpets on his ear 
Proclaiming victory. So had he dreamed. 
And there, within an arch at the stair-top 
And screened behind a painted hanging-cloth 
Of coiled gold serpents ready to make spring, 
Ignoble Death stood, his convulsive hand 
Grasping a rapier part-way down the blade 
To deal the blow with deadly-jewelled hilt 
Black Death, turned white with horror of himself. 
Straight on came he that sang the blithe sea-song ; 
And now his step was on the stair, and now 
He neared the blazoned hanging-cloth, and now . . . 

The lights were out, and all life lay in trance 
On floor or pallet, muffled to the chin, 
Each in his mask of sullen-featured death 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 239 

Fond souls that recked not what was in the air, 
Else had the dead man's scabbard as it clashed 
Against the balustrade, then on the tiles, 
Brought awkward witness. One base hind there 

was 

Had stolen a venison-pasty on the shelf, 
And now did penance ; him the fall half roused 
From dreadful nightmare ; once he turned and 

gasped, 

Then straightway snored again. No other sound 
Within the dream-enchanted house was heard, 
Save that the mastiff, lying at the gate 
With visionary bone, snarled in his sleep. 
Secret as bridal-kiss may murder be. 

Done was the deed that could not be undone 
Throughout eternity. O silent tongue 
That would blab all with silence ! What to do ? 
How hide this speechless witness from men's gaze ? 
Living, that body vexed us ; being dead 
'T is like to give us trouble and to spare. 
O for a cavern in deep-bowelled earth ! 
Quick, ere the dusky petals of the night 
Unclosing bare the fiery heart of dawn 
And thus undo us with its garish light, 
Let us this mute and pale accusing clay 
In some undreamed-of sepulchre bestow. 
But where ? Hold back thy fleet-wing'd coursers, 
Time, 



240 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

Whilst we bethink us ! Ah such place there is ! 
Close, too, at hand - - a place wherein a man 
Might lie till doomsday safer from the touch 
Of prying clown than is the spiced dust 
Of an Egyptian in his pyramid. 

At a dark alcove's end of that long hall, 
The ancient armor-room in the east wing, 
A certain door (whereof no mortal knew 
Save Wyndham, now that other lay a-cold) 
Was to the panels of the wall so set, 
And with such devilish shrewdness overlaid 
By carvings of wild-flower and curled grape-leaf, 
That one not in the favor of the trick, 
Albeit he knew such mechanism was, 
Ere he put finger on the secret spring 
Had need of Job for ancestor, in faith ! 
You pressed a rose, a least suspected rose, 
And two doors turned on hinge, the inner door 
Closing a space of say some six feet square, 
Unlighted, sheathed with iron. Doubtless here 
The mediaeval Wyndhams hid their plate 
When things looked wicked from the outer wall, 
Or, on occasion, a grim ruthless lord 
Immured some inconvenient two-faced friend 
To banquet bidden, and kept over night. 
Such pranks were played in Merrie England then. 
Sealed in the narrow compass of that cell, 
Shut from God's light and his most precious air, 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 241 

A man might have of life a half-hour's lease 
If he were hale and well-breathed at the start. 

Hither did Richard bear his brother's corse 
And fling it down. Upon the stone-paved floor 
In a thin strip of moonlight flung it down, 
And then drew breath. Perhaps he paused to 

glance 

At the white face there, with the strange half-smile 
Outliving death, the brightness of the hair 
Lying in loops and tangles round the brow 
A seraph's face of silver set in gold, 
Such as the deft Italians know to carve ; 
Perhaps his tiger's blood cooled then, perhaps 
Swift pity at his very heart-strings tugged, 
And he in that black moment of remorse, 
Seeing how there his nobler self lay slain, 
Had bartered all this jewel-studded earth 
To win life's color back to that wan cheek. 
Ah. let us hope it, and some mercy feel, 
Since each at compt shall need of mercy have. 
Now how it happened, whether 't was the wind, 
Or whether 't was some incorporeal hand 
That reached down through the dark and did the 

thing, 

Man knoweth not, but suddenly both doors, 
Ere one could utter cry or stretch an arm, 
Closed with dull clang, and there in his own trap 
Incontinent was red-stained Richard caught, 



242 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

And as by flash of lightning saw his doom. 

Call, if thou wilt, but every ear is stuffed 

With slumber ! Shriek, and run quick frenzied 

hands 

Along the iron sheathing of thy grave 
For 't is thy grave no egress shalt thou find, 
No lock to break, no subtile-sliding bolt, 
No careless rivet, no half loosened plate 
For dagger's point to fret at and pry off 
And let a stifling mortal get to air ! 

Angels of Light ! what were a thousand years 
Of rankling envy and contemned love 
And all the bitter draughts a man may drink 
To that half hour of Richard's with his Dead ? 



II 

THROUGH silence, gloom, and star-strown paths of 

Night 

The breathless hours like phantoms stole away. 
Black lay the earth, in primal blackness wrapped 
Ere the great miracle once more was wrought. 
A chill wind freshened in the pallid East 
And brought sea-smell of newly blossomed foam, 
And stirred the leaves and branch-hung nests of 

birds. 

Fainter the glow-worm's lantern glimmered now 
In the marsh land and on the forest's hem, 
And the slow dawn with purple laced the sky 
Where sky and sea lay sharply edge to edge. 
The purple melted, changed to violet, 
And that to every delicate sea-shell tinge, 
Blush-pink, deep cinnabar ; then no change was, 
Save that the air had in it sense of wings, 
Till suddenly the heavens were all aflame, 
And it was morning. O great miracle ! 
O radiance and splendor of the Throne, 
Daily vouchsafed to us ! Yet saith the fool, 
" There is no God ! " And now a level gleam, 

243 



244 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

Thrust like a spear-head through the tangled 

boughs, 
Smote Wyndham turrets, and the spell was broke. 

And one by one, on pallet stretched or floor, 
The sleepers wakened ; each took up afresh 
His load of life ; but two there were woke not, 
Nor knew 't was daybreak. From the rusty nail 
The gateman snatched his bunch of ancient keys, 
And, yawning, vowed the sun an hour too soon ; 
The scullion, with face shining like his pans, 
Hose down at heel and jerkin half unlaced, 
On hearthstone knelt to coax the smouldering log ; 
The keeper fetched the yelping hounds their meat ; 
The hostler whistled in the stalls ; anon, 
With rustling skirt and slumber-freshened cheek, 
The kerchiefd housemaid tripped from room to 

room 

(Sweet Gillian, she that broke the groom his heart), 
While, wroth within, behind a high-backed chair 
The withered butler for his master waited, 
Cursing the cook. That day the brewis spoiled. 

That day came neither kinsman to break bread. 
When it was seen that both had lain abroad, 
The wolf-skins of their couches made that plain 
As pike-staff, or the mole on Gillian's cheek, 
The servants stared. Some journey called them 
hence ; 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 245 

At dead of night some messenger had come 

Of secret import, may be from the Queen, 

And they paused not for change of raiment even. 

And yet, in faith, that were but little like ; 

Sir Richard had scant dealings with the Court. 

Still- -if Northumberland were in arms again. 

'T was passing strange. No beast had gone from 

rack. 
How had they gone, then ? Who looked on them 

last? 

Up rose the withered butler, he it was : 
They supped together, of no journey spoke, 
Spoke little, 't was their custom ; after meal 
The master's brother sallied forth alone, 
The master stayed within. " That did he not," 
Quoth one, " I saw Sir Richard in the close 
I' the moonrise." "'Twas eleven on the stroke," 
Said Gillian softly, "he, or 'twas his ghost 
Methought his face was whiter than my smock 
Passed through the courtyard, and so into house. 
Yet slept he not there ! " And that other one, 
The guest unwelcome, kinsman little loved 
(How these shrewd varlets turn us inside out 
At kitchen-conclaves, over our own wine !) 
Him had no eye seen since he issued forth 
As curfew sounded. " Call me lying knave " 
He of the venison-pasty had the word 
" And let me nevermore dip beak in ale 
Or sit at trencher with good smoking meat, 



246 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

If I heard not, in middle of the night, 

The cock crow thrice, and took it for a sign." 

" So, marry, 'twas that thou wert drunk again." 

But no one laughed save he that made the jest, 

Which often happens. The long hours wore on, 

And gloaming fell. Then came another day, 

And then another, until seven dawns 

In Time's slow crucible ran ruddy gold 

And overflowed the gray horizon's edge ; 

And yet no hosts at table an ill thing ! 

And now 'twas on the eve of Michaelmas. 



What could it bode ? From out their lethargy 
At last awaking, searchers in hot haste, 
Some in the saddle, some afoot with hounds, 
Scoured moor and woodland, dragged the neighbor- 
ing weirs 

And salmon-streams, and watched the wily hawk 
Slip from his azure ambush overhead, 
With ever a keen eye for carrion : 
But no man found, nor aught that once was man. 
By land they went not ; went they water-ways ? 
Might be, from Bideford or Ilfracombe. 
Mayhap they were in London, who could tell ? 
God help us ! do men melt into the air ? 
Yet one there was whose dumb unlanguaged love 
Had all revealed, had they but given heed. 
Across the threshold of the armor-room 
The savage mastiff stretched himself, and starved. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 247 

Now where lags he, upon what alehouse bench 
'Twixt here and London, who shall lift this weight ? 
Were he not slain upon the Queen's highway 
Ere he reached Town, or tumbled into ford 
With too much sack-and-sugar under belt, 
Then was his face set homeward this same hour. 
Why lingers he ? Ill news, 't is said, flies fast, 
And good news creeps ; then his must needs be good 
That lets the tortoise pass him on the road. 
Ride, Dawkins, ride ! by flashing tarn' and fen 
And haunted hollow ! Look not where in chains 
On Hounslow Heath the malefactor hangs, 
A lasting terror ! Give thy roan jade spur, 
And spare her not ! All Devon waits for thee, 
Thou, for the moment, most important man ! 
A sevennight later, when the rider sent 
To Town drew rein before The Falcon inn 
Under the creaking of the windy sign, 
And slipped from saddle with most valorous call 
For beer to wash his throat out, then confessed 
He brought no scrap of any honest news, 
The last hope died, and so the quest was done. 
" They fared afoot," quoth one, " but where God 
knows." 

. The blackthorn bloomed anew, and the long grass 
Was starred with flowers that once Griselda prized, 
But plucked not. She, poor wench, from moon to 
moon 



248 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

Waxed pale and paler : of no known disease, 
The village-leech averred, with lips pursed out 
And cane at chin ; some inward fire, he thought, 
Consumed. A dark inexplicable blight 
Had touched her, thinned her, till of that sweet 

earth 

Scarce more was left than would have served to grow 
A lily. Later, at a fresh-turned grave, 
From out the maiden strewments, as it were, 
A whisper rose, of most pathetic breath, 
Of how one maid had been by two men loved 
No names, God's mercy ! - - and that neither man 
Would wed her : why ? conjecture faltered there, 
For whiter was she than new-drifted snow, 
Or bleached lamb's wool, or any purest thing, 
Such stuff in sooth as Heaven shapes angels of ; 
And how from their warm, comfortable beds 
These two men wandered out into the night, 
Sore stricken and distempered in their mind, 
And being by Satan blinded and urged on 
Flung themselves headlong from a certain crag 
That up Clovelly way o'erhangs the sea 
O'erhangs the sea to tempt unhappy folk. 
From door to door the piteous legend passed, 
And like a thrifty beggar took from each. 
And when the long autumnal season came 
To that bleak, bitter coast, and when at night 
The deep was shaken, and the pent cloud broke 
Crashing among the lurid hills of heaven, 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 249 

And in brief sudden swoonings of the gale 
Contentious voices rose from the sand-dunes, 
Then to low sobs and murmurs died away, 
The fishwives, with their lean and sallow cheeks 
Lit by the flickering driftwood's ruddy glow, 
Drew closer to the crane, and under breath 
To awestruck maidens told the fearful tale. 

The red leaf withered and the green leaf grew. 
'Twas said that once the Queen reached out her 

hand 

This was at Richmond in her palace there 
And let it rest on Burleigh's velvet sleeve, 
And spoke right stately was she in her rouge: 
" Prithee, good Master Cecil, tell us now 
Was 't ever known what ill befell those men, 
Those Wyndhams ? Were they never, never found ? 
Look you, 't will be three years come Michaelmas : 
'T were well to have at least the bones of them. 
'Fore God, sir ! this is something should be seen ! 
When the Armada, which God smote and sunk, 
Threatened our Realm, our buckler and our shield 
Were such stout hearts as that young Wyndham 

was. 

The elder brother well, Heaven made us all. 
Our subjects are our subjects, mark you that. 
Not found, forsooth ! Why, then, they should be 

found ! " 
Fain had my good Lord Burleigh solved the thing, 



250 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

And smoothed that ominous wrinkle on the brow 
Of her Most Sweet Imperious Majesty. 
Full many a problem his statecraft had solved 
How strangle treason, how soothe turbulent peers, 
How foil the Pope and Spain, how pay the Fleet 
Mere temporal matters ; but this business smelt 
Strongly of brimstone. Bring back vanished folk ! 
That could not Master Cecil if he would. 

The red leaf withered and the green leaf grew. 
Dark were the days that came to Wyndham Towers 
With that grim secret rusting in its heart. 
On the sea's side along the fissured wall 
The lichen spread in patches of dull gold 
Up to the battlements, at times assailed 
By sheeted ghosts of mist blown from the sea, 
Now by the whistling arrows of the sleet 
Pelted, and thrice of lightning scorched and seamed, 
But stoutly held from dreary year to year 
By legions of most venerable rooks, 
Shrill black-robed prelates of the fighting sort. 
In the wide moat, run dry with summer drought, 
Great scarlet poppies lay in drifts and heaps, 
Like bodies fallen there in some vain assault. 
Within, decay and dolor had their court 
Dolor, decay, and silence, lords of all. 
From room to room the wind went shuddering 
On some vague endless quest ; now pausing here 
To lift an arras, and then hurrying on, 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 251 

To some fresh clue, belike ! The sharp-nosed 

mouse 

Through joist and floor discreetly gnawed her way, 
And for her glossy young a lodging made 
In a cracked corselet that once held a heart. 
The meditative spider undisturbed 
Wove his gray tapestry from sill to sill. 
Over the transom the stone eagle drooped, 
With one wing gone, in most dejected state 
Moulting his feathers. A blue poisonous vine, 
Whose lucent berry, hard as Indian jade, 
No squirrel tried his tooth on, June by June 
On the south hill-slope festered in the sun. 
Man's foot came not there. It was haunted ground. 

The red leaf withered and the green leaf grew. 
An oak stood where an acorn tumbled once, 
Ages ago, and all the world was strange. 
Now, in that year King Charles the Second left 
Forever the soft arms of Mistress Gwynn 
And wrapped him in that marble where he lies, 
The moulder'd pile with its entombed Crime 
Passed to the keep of a brave new-fledged lord, 
Who, liking much the sane and wholesome air 
That bent the boughs and fanned the turret's top, 
Cried, " Here dwell I ! " So fell it on a day 
The stroke of mallets and the screech of saws 
In those bleak chambers made such din as stopped 
The careful spider half-way up his thread, 



252 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 



And panic sent to myriad furtive things 

That dwelt in wainscots and loved not the sun. 

Vainly in broken phalanx clamorous 

Did the scared rooks protest, and all in vain 

The moths on indolent white damask wings 

At door and casement rallied. Wyndham Towers 

Should have a bride, and ghosts had word to quit. 

And now, behold what strange thing came to 

pass. 

A certain workman, in the eastern wing 
Plying his craft alone as the day waned 
One Gregory Nokes, a very honest soul, 
By trade wood-carver stumbled on a door 
Leading to nowhere at an alcove's end, 
A double door that of itself swung back 
In such strange way as no man ever saw; 
And there, within a closet, on the flags 
Were two grim shapes which, vaguely seen at first 
In the half light, grew presently distinct 
Two gnomes or vampires seemed they, or dire imps 
Straight from the Pit, in guise fantastical 
Of hose and doublet : one stretched out full length 
Supine, and one in terror-stricken sort 
Half toppled forward on the bended knee, 
Grasping with vise-like grip the other's wrist, 
As who should say, Arouse tkee, sleep no more ! 
But said it not. If they were quick or dead, 
No sign they gave beyond this sad dumb show. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 253 

Blurred one face was, yet luminous, like the moon 
Caught in the fleecy network of a cloud, 
Or seen glassed on the surface of a tarn 
When the wind crinkles it and makes all dim ; 
The other, drawn and wrenched by mortal throes, 
And in the aspect such beseeching look 
As might befall some poor wretch called to compt 
On the sudden, even as he kneels at prayer, 
With Mercy ! turned to frost upon his lip. 

Thus much saw Nokes within the closet there 
Ere he drew breath ; then backing step by step, 
The chisel clutched in still uplifted hand, 
His eyes still fixed upon the ghosts, he reached 
An open window giving on the court 
Where the stone-cutters were ; to them he called 
Softly, in whispers under his curved palm, 
Lest peradventure a loud word should rouse 
The phantoms ; but ere foot could climb the stair, 
Or the heart's pulses count the sum of ten, 
Through both dread shapes, as at God's finger- 
touch, 

A shiver ran, the wavering outlines broke, 
And suddenly a chill and mist-like breath 
Touched Nokes's cheek as he at casement leaned, 
And nought was left of that most piteous pair 
Save two long rapiers of some foreign make 
Lying there crossed, a mass of flaky rust. 



254 WYNDHAM TOWERS 

O luckless carver of dead images, 
Saint's-head or gargoyle, thou hast seen a sight 
Shall last thee to the confines of the grave ! 
Ill were thy stars or ever thou wert born 
That thou shouldst look upon a thing forbid ! 
Now in thine eye shall it forever live, 
And the waste solitudes of night inhabit 
With direful shadows of the nether world, 
Yet leave thee lonely in the throng of men 
Not of them, thou, but creature set apart 
Under a ban, and doomed henceforth to know 
The wise man's scorn, the dull man's sorry jest. 
For who could credence give to that mad tale 
Of churchyard folk appearing in broad day, 
And drifting out at casement like a mist ? 
Marry, not they who crowded up the stair 
In haste, and peered into that empty cell, 
And had half mind to buffet Master Nokes, 
Standing with finger laid across his palm 
In argumentative, appealing way, 
Distraught, of countenance most woe-begone. 
" See ! the two swords. As I 'm a Christian 

soul ! " 
"Odds, man ! " cried one, "thou 'st been a-dreamin', 

man. 
Cleave to thy beer, an' let strong drink alone ! ' 

So runs the legend. So from their long sleep 
Those ghosts arose and fled across the night. 



WYNDHAM TOWERS 255 

But never bride came to that dark abode, 
For wild flames swept it ere a month was gone, 
And nothing spared but that forlorn old tower 
Whereon the invisible fingers of the wind 
Its fitful and mysterious dirges play. 



THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY 

WITH OTHER POEMS 



THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY 

X 

A. D. 1670 

AGLAE, a widow. 

MURIEL, her unmarried sister. 

IT happened once, in that brave land that lies 
Wrapped half the year in mist and sombre skies, 
Two sisters loved one man. He bein^ dead, 

o / 

Grief loosed the lips of her he had not wed, 
And all the passion that through heavy years 
Had masked in smiles unmasked itself in tears. 
No purer love may mortals know than this, 
The hidden love that guards another's bliss. 

High in a turret's westward-facing room, 
Whose painted window held the sunset's bloom, 
The two together grieving, each to each 
Unveiled her soul with sobs and broken speech. 
Both still were young, in life's rich summer yet ; 
And one was dark, with tints of violet 

257 



258 THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY 

In hair and eyes, and one was blond as she 
Who rose a second daybreak from the sea, 
Gold-tressed and azure-eyed. In that lone place, 
Like dusk and dawn, they sat there face to face. 

She spoke the first whose strangely silvering hair 
No wreath had worn, nor widow's weed might 

wear, 

And told her blameless love, and knew no shame 
Her holy love that, like a vestal flame 
Beside the sacred body of some queen 
\Yithin a guarded crypt, had burned unseen 
From weary year to year. And she who heard 
Smiled proudly through her tears and said no word, 
But, drawing closer, on the troubled brow 
Laid one long kiss, and that was words enow ! 

MURIEL 

Be still, my heart ! Grown patient with thine ache 
Thou shouldst be dumb, yet needs must speak, or 

break. 
The world is empty now that he is gone. 

AGLAE 

Ay, sweetheart ! 
i 

MURIEL 

None was like him, no, not one. 
From other men he stood apart, alone 



THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY 259 

In honor spotless as unfallen snow. 

Nothing all evil was it his to know ; 

His charity still found some germ, some spark 

Of light in natures that seemed wholly dark. 

He read men's souls ; the lowly and the high 

Moved on the self-same level in his eye. 

Gracious to all, to none subservient, 

Without offence he spake the word he meant 

His word no trick of tact or courtly art, 

But the white flowering of the noble heart. 

Careless he was of much the world counts gain, 

Careless of self, too simple to be vain, 

Yet strung so finely that for conscience' sake 

He would have gone like Cranmer to the stake. 

I saw how could I help but love ? And you 

AGLAE 

At this perfection did I worship too . . . 

'T was this that stabbed me. Heed not what I say ! 

I meant it not, my wits are gone astray, 

With all that is and has been. No, I lie 

Had he been less perfection, happier I ! 

MURIEL 

Strange words and wild ! 'T is the distracted mind 
Breathes them, not you, and I no meaning find. 

AGLAE 

Yet 't were as plain as writing on a scroll 
Had you but eyes to read within my soul. 



260 THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY 

How a grief hidden feeds on its own mood, 
Poisons the healthful currents of the blood 
With bitterness, and turns the heart to stone ! 
I think, in truth, 't were better to make moan, 
And so be done with it. This many a year, 
Sweetheart, have I laughed lightly and made cheer, 
Pierced through with sorrow ! 

Then the widowed one 
With sorrowfullest eyes beneath the sun, 
Faltered, irresolute, and bending low 
Her head, half whispered, 

" Dear, how could you know ? 
\Vhat masks are faces ! yours, unread by me 
These seven long summers ; mine, so placidly 
Shielding my woe ! No tremble of the lip, 
No cheek's quick pallor let our secret slip ! 
Mere players we, and she that played the queen, 
Now in her homespun, looks how poor and mean ! 
How shall I say it, how find words to tell 
What thing it was for me made earth a hell 
That else had been my heaven ! 'T would blanch 

your cheek 

Were I to speak it. Nay, but I will speak, 
Since like two souls at compt we seem to stand, 
Where nothing may be hidden. Hold my hand, 
But look not at me ! Noble 't was, and meet, 
To hide your heart, nor fling it at his feet 



ELMWOOD 261 

To lie despised there. Thus saved you our pride 

And that white honor for which earls have died. 

You were not all unhappy, loving so ! 

I with a difference wore my weight of woe. 

My lord was he. It was my cruel lot, 

My hell, to love him for he loved me not ! ' 

Then came a silence. Suddenly like death 
The truth flashed on them, and each held her 

breath 

A flash of light whereby they both were slain, 
She that was loved and she that loved in vain ! 



ELMWOOD 

IN MEMORY OF JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL 

HERE, in the twilight, at the well-known gate 
I linger, with no heart to enter more. 
Among the elm-tops the autumnal air 
Murmurs, and spectral in the fading light 
A solitary heron wings its way 
Southward save this no sound or touch of life. 
Dark is that window where the scholar's lamp 
Was used to catch a pallor from the dawn. 

Yet I must needs a little linger here. 
Each shrub and tree is eloquent of him, 



262 ELMWOOD 

For tongueless things and silence have their speech. 

This is the path familiar to his foot 

From infancy to manhood and old age ; 

For in a chamber of that ancient house 

His eyes first opened on the mystery 

Of life, and all the splendor of the world. 

Here, as a child, in loving, curious way, 

He watched the bluebird's coming ; learned the 

date 

Of hyacinth and goldenrod, and made 
Friends of those little redmen of the elms, 
And slyly added to their winter store 
Of hazel-nuts : no harmless thing that breathed, 
Footed or winged, but knew him for a friend. 
The gilded butterfly was not afraid 
To trust its gold to that so gentle hand, 
The bluebird fled not from the pendent spray. 
Ah, happy childhood, ringed with fortunate stars ! 
What dreams were his in this enchanted sphere, 
What intuitions of high destiny ! 
The honey-bees of Hybla touched his lips 
In that old New- World garden, unawares. 

So in her arms did Mother Nature fold 
Her poet, breathing what of strange and sweet 
Into his ear the state-affairs of birds, 
The lore of dawn and sunset, what the wind 
Said in the treetops fine, unfathomed things 
Henceforth to turn to music in his brain : 



ELMWOOD 263 

A various music, now like notes of flutes, 

And now like blasts of trumpets blown in wars. 

Later he paced this leafy academe 

A student, drinking from Greek chalices 

The ripened vintage of the antique world. 

And here to him came love, and love's dear loss ; 

Here honors came, the deep applause of men 

Touched to the heart by some swift-winged word 

That from his own full heart took eager flight 

Some strain of piercing sweetness or rebuke, 

For underneath his gentle nature flamed 

A noble scorn for all ignoble deed, 

Himself a bondman till all men were free. 

Thus passed his manhood ; then to other lands 
He strayed, a stainless figure among courts 
Beside the Manzanares and the Thames. 
Whence, after too long exile, he returned 
With fresher laurel, but sedater step 
And eye more serious, fain to breathe the air 
Where through the Cambridge marshes the blue 

Charles 

Uncoils its length and stretches to the sea : 
Stream dear to him, at every curve a shrine 
For pilgrim Memory. Again he watched 
His loved syringa whitening by the door, 
And knew the catbird's welcome ; in his walks 
Smiled on his tawny kinsmen of the elms 
Stealing his nuts ; and in the ruined year 



264 ELMWOOD 

Sat at his widowed hearthside with bent brows 
Leonine, frosty with the breath of time, 
And listened to the crooning of the wind 
In the wide Elmwood chimneys, as of old. 
And then and then . . . 

The afterglow has faded from the elms, 
And in the denser darkness of the boughs 
From time to time the firefly's tiny lamp 
Sparkles. How often in still summer dusks 
He paused to note that transient phantom spark 
Flash on the air a light that outlasts him ! 

The night grows chill, as if it felt a breath 
Blown from that frozen city where he lies. 
All things turn strange. The leaf that rustles here 
Has more than autumn's mournfulness. The place 
Is heavy with his absence. Like fixed eyes 
Whence the dear light of sense and thought has 

fled 

The vacant windows stare across the lawn. 
The wise sweet spirit that informed it all 
Is otherwhere. The house itself is dead. 



O autumn wind among the sombre pines, 
Breathe you his dirge, but be it sweet and low, 
With deep refrains and murmurs of the sea, 
Like to his verse the art is yours alone. 



WHITE EDITH 265 

His once you taught him. Now no voice but 

yours. 
Tender and low, O wind among the pines ! 



WHITE EDITH 

ABOVE an ancient book, with a knight's crest 
In tarnished gold on either cover stamped, 
She leaned, and read a chronicle it was 
In which the sound of hautboys stirred the pulse, 
And masques and gilded pageants fed the eye. 
Though here and there the vellum page was stained 
Sanguine with battle, chiefly it was love 
The stylus held some wan-cheeked scribe, per- 
chance, 

That in a mouldy tower by candle-light 
Forgot his hunger in his madrigals. 
Outside was winter : in its winding-sheet 
The frozen Year lay. Silent was the room, 
Save when the wind against the casement pressed 
Or a page rustled, turned impatiently, 
Or when along the still damp apple-wood 
A little flame ran that chirped like a bird 
Some wren's ghost haunting the familiar bough. 

With parted lips, in which less color lived 
Than paints the pale wild-rose, she leaned and 
read. 



266 WHITE EDITH 

From time to time her fingers unawares 
Closed on the palm ; and oft upon her cheek 
The pallor died, and left such transient glow 
As might from some rich chapel window fall 
On a girl's cheek at prayer. So moved her soul, 
From this dull age unshackled and divorced, 
In far moon-haunted gardens of romance. 
But once the wind that swept the palsied oaks, 
As if new-pierced with sorrow, came and moaned 
Close by the casement ; then she raised her eyes, 
The light of dreams still fringing them, and spoke : 
" Tell me, good cousin, does this book say true ? 
Is it so fine a thing to be a queen ? ' 

As if a spell of incantation dwelt 
In those soft syllables, before me stood, 
Colored like life, the phantasm of a maid 
Who, in the savage childhood of this world, 
Was crowned by error, or through dark intent 
Made queen, and for the durance of one day 
The royal diadem and ermine wore. 
In strange sort wore for this queen fed the 

starved, 

The naked clothed, threw open dungeon doors \ 
Could to no story list of suffering 
But the full tear was lovely on her lash ; 
Taught Grief to smile, and wan Despair to hope ; 
Upon her stainless bosom pillowed Sin 
Repentant at her feet like Him of old ; 



WHITE EDITH 267 

Made even the kerns and wild-men of the fells, 
That sniffing pillage clamored at the gate, 
Gentler than doves by some unknown white art, 
And saying to herself, " So, I am Queen ! ' 
With lip all tremulous, held out her hand 
To the crowd's kiss. What joy to ease the hurt 
Of bruised hearts ! As in a trance she walked 
That live-long day. Then night came, and the 

stars, 

And blissful sleep. But ere the birds were called 
By bluebell chimes (unheard of mortal ear) 
To matins in their branch-hung priories 
Ere yet the dawn its gleaming edge lay bare 
Like to the burnished axe's subtle edge, 
She, from her sleep's caresses roughly torn, 
The meek eyes blinking in the torches' glare, 
Upon a scaffold for her glory paid 
Her cheeks' two roses. For it so befell 
That from the Northland there was come a prince, 
With a great clash of shields and trailing spears 
Through the black portals of the breathless night, 
To claim the sceptre. He no less would take 
Than those same roses for his usury. 
What less, in faith ! The throne was rightly his 
Of that sea-girdled isle ; so to the block 
Needs go the ringlets and the white swan-throat. 
A touch of steel, a sudden darkness, then 
Blue Heaven and all the hymning angel-choir ! 
No tears for her keep tears for those who live 



268 WHITE EDITH 

To mate with sin and shame, and have remorse 

At last to light them to unhallowed earth. 

Hers no such low-hung fortunes. Thus to stand 

Supreme one instant at that dizzy height,. 

With no hoarse raven croaking in her ear 

The certain doom, and then to have life's rose 

Struck swiftly from the cheek, and so escape 

Love's death, black treason, friend's ingratitude, 

The pang of separation, chill of age, 

The grief that in an empty cradle lies, 

And all the unspoke sorrow women know 

That was, in truth, to have a happy reign ! 

Has thine been happier, Sovereign of the Sea, 

In that long-mateless pilgrimage to death ? 

Or thine, whose beauty like a star illumed 

Awhile the dark and angry sky of France, 

Thy kingdom shrunken to two exiled graves ? 

Sweet old-world maid, a gentler fate was yours ! 

Would he had wed your story to his verse 

Who from the misty land of legend brought 

Helen of Troy to gladden English eyes. 

There 's many a queen that lived her grandeur 

out, 

Gray-haired and broken, might have envied you, 
Your Majesty, that reigned a single day ! 

All this, between two heart-throbs, as it were, 
Flashed through my mind, so lightning-like is 
thought. 



WHITE EDITH 269 

With lifted eyes expectant, there she sat 
Whose words had sent my fancy over-sea, 
Her lip still trembling with its own soft speech, 
As for a moment trembles the curved spray 
Whence some winged melody has taken flight. 
How every circumstance of time and place 
Upon the glass of memory lives again ! 
The bleak New England road ; the level boughs 
Like bars of iron across the setting sun ; 
The gray ribbed clouds piled up against the West ; 
The window splashed with frost ; the firelit room, 
And in the antique chair that slight girl-shape, 
The auburn braid about the saintly brows 
Making a nimbus, and she white as snow ! 

" Dear Heart," I said, " the humblest place ; s 

best 

For gentle souls the throne's foot, not the throne. 
The storms that smite the dizzy solitudes 
Where monarchs sit most lonely folk are they ! 
Oft leave the vale unscathed ; there dwells con- 
tent, 

If so content have habitation here. 
Never have I in annals read or rhyme 
Of queen save one that found not at the end 
The cup too bitter ; never queen save one, 
And she her empire lasted but a day ! 
Yet that brief breath of time did she so fill 
With mercy, love, and holy charity 



270 WHITE EDITH 

As more rich made it than long-drawn-out years 

Of such weed-life as drinks the lavish sun 

And rots unflower'd." " Straight tell me of that 

queen ! ' 

Cried Edith ; " Brunhild, in my legend here, 
Is lovely was that other still more fair ? 
And had she not a Siegfried at the court 
To steal her talisman ? that Siegfried did 
At Giinther's bidding. Was your queen not loved ? 
Tell me it all ! ' With chin upon her palm 
Resting, she listened, and within her eyes 
The sapphire deepened as I told the tale 
Of the girl-empress in the dawn of Time 
A flower that on the vermeil brink of May 
Died, with its folded whiteness for a shroud ; 
A strain of music that, ere it was mixed 
With baser voices, floated up to heaven. 

Without was silence, for the wind was spent 
That all the day had pleaded at the door. 
Against the crimson sunset elm and oak 
Stood black and motionless ; among the boughs 
The sad wind slumbered. Silence filled the room, 
Save when from out the crumbled apple branch 
Came the wren's twitter, faint, and fainter now, 
Like a bird's note far heard in twilight woods. 
No other sound was. Presently a hand 
Stole into mine, and rested there, inert, 
Like some new-gathered snowy hyacinth, 



SEA LONGINGS 271 

So white and cold and delicate it was. 

I know not what dark shadow crossed my heart, 

What vague presentiment, but as I stooped 

To lift the slender fingers to my lip, 

I saw it through a mist of strangest tears 

The thin white hand invisible Death had touched ! 



SEA LONGINGS 

THE first world-sound that fell upon my ear 
Was that of the great winds along the coast 
Crushing the deep-sea beryl on the rocks 
The distant breakers' sullen cannonade. 
Against the spires and gables of the town 
The white fog drifted, catching here and there 
At over-leaning cornice or peaked roof, 
And hung weird gonfalons. The garden walks 
Were choked with leaves, and on their ragged biers 
Lay dead the sweets of summer damask rose, 
Clove pink, old-fashioned, loved New England 

flowers. 

Only keen salt sea-odors filled the air. 
Sea-sounds, sea-odors these were all my world. 

Hence is it that life languishes with me 
Inland ; the valleys stifle me with gloom 
And pent-up prospect ; in their narrow bound 



272 SEA LONGINGS 

Imagination flutters futile wings. 

Vainly I seek the sloping pearl-white sand 

And the mirage's phantom citadels 

Miraculous, a moment seen, then gone. 

Among the mountains I am ill at ease, 

Missing the stretched horizon's level line 

And the illimitable restless blue. 

The crag-torn sky is not the sky I love, 

But one unbroken sapphire spanning all ; 

And nobler than the branches of a pine 

Aslant upon a mountain-torrent's brink 

Are the strained spars of some great battle-ship 

Ploughing across the sunset. No bird's lilt 

So takes me as the whistling of the gale 

Among the shrouds. My cradle-song was this, 

Strange inarticulate sorrows of the sea, 

Blithe rhythms upgathered from the Sirens' caves. 

Perchance of earthly voices the last voice 

That shall an instant my freed spirit stay 

On this world's verge, will be some message blown 

Over the dim salt lands that fringe the coast 

At dusk, or when the tranced midnight droops 

With weight of stars, or haply just as dawn, 

Illumining the sullen purple wave, 

Turns the gray pools and willow-stems to gold. 



THE BELLS AT MIDNIGHT 273 



THE BELLS AT MIDNIGHT 1 



In their dark House of Cloud 
The three weird sisters toil till time be sped ; 
One unwinds life, one ever weaves the shroud, 

One waits to part the thread. 



CLOTHO 



How long, O sister, how long 
Ere the weary task is done ? 
How long, O sister, how long 
Shall the fragile thread be spun ? 



LACHESIS 



'T is mercy that stays her hand, 
Else she had cut the thread ; 
She is a woman too, 
Like her who kneels by his bed ! 

ATROPOS 

Patience ! the end is come ; 
He shall no more endure : 
See ! with a single touch ! 
My hand is swift and sure ! 

1 The death of President Garfield was announced at mid- 
night by the tolling of church bells throughout the land. 



274 THE BELLS AT MIDNIGHT 

n 

Two Angels pausing in their flight 

FIRST ANGEL 

Listen ! what was it fell 
An instant ago on my ear 
A sound like the throb of a bell 
From yonder darkling sphere. 

SECOND ANGEL 

The planet where mortals dwell ! 
I hear it not . . . yes, I hear ; 
How it deepens a sound of dole ! 

FIRST ANGEL 

Listen ! It is the knell 

Of a passing soul 

The midnight lamentation 

Of some stricken nation 

For a chieftain's soul ! 

It is just begun, 

The many-throated moan . . . 

Now the clangor swells 

As if a million bells 

Had blent their tones in one ! 

Accents of despair 

Are these to mortal ear ; 

But all this wild funereal music blown 



UNGUARDED GATES 275 

And sifted through celestial air 

Turns to triumphal paeans here ! 

Wave upon wave the silvery anthems flow; 

Wave upon wave the deep vibrations roll 

From that dim sphere below. 

Come, let us go 

Surely, some chieftain's soul ! 



UNGUARDED GATES 

WIDE open and unguarded stand our gates, 
Named of the four winds, North, South, East, and 

West j 

Portals that lead to an enchanted land 
Of cities, forests, fields of living gold, 
Vast prairies, lordly summits touched with snow, 
Majestic rivers sweeping proudly past 
The Arab's date-palm and the Norseman's pine 
A realm wherein are fruits of every zone, 
Airs of all climes, for lo ! throughout the year 
The red rose blossoms somewhere a rich land, 
A later Eden planted in the wilds, 
With not an inch of earth within its bound 
But if a slave's foot press it sets him free. 
Here, it is written, Toil shall have its wage, 
And Honor honor, and the humblest man 



276 UNGUARDED GATES 

Stand level with the highest in the law. 
Of such a land have men in dungeons dreamed, 
And with the vision brightening in their eyes 
Gone smiling to the fagot and the sword. 

Wide open and unguarded stand our gates, 
And through them presses a wild motley throng 
Men from the Volga and the Tartar steppes, 
Featureless figures of the Hoang-Ho, 
Malayan, Scythian, Teuton, Kelt, and Slav, 
Flying the Old World's poverty and scorn ; 
These bringing with them unknown gods and rites, 
Those, tiger passions, here to stretch their claws. 
In street and alley what strange tongues are loud, 
Accents of menace alien to our air, 
Voices that once the Tower of Babel knew ! 

O Liberty, white Goddess ! is it well 
To leave the gates unguarded ? On thy breast 
Fold Sorrow's children, soothe the hurts of fate, 
Lift the down-trodden, but with hand of steel 
Stay those who to thy sacred portals come 
To waste the gifts of freedom. Have a care 
Lest from thy brow the clustered stars be torn 
And trampled in the dust. For so of old 
The thronging Goth and Vandal trampled Rome, 
And where the temples of the Caesars stood 
The lean wolf unmolested made her lair. 



IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY 277 

IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY 

" The Southern Transept, hardly known by any other name but Poets' 
Corner." DEAN STANLEY. 

TREAD softly here ; the sacredest of tombs 

Are those that hold your Poets. Kings and queens 

Are facile accidents of Time and Chance. 

Chance sets them on the heights, they climb not 

there ! 

But he who from the darkling mass of men 
Is on the wing of heavenly thought upborne 
To finer ether, and becomes a voice 
For all the voiceless, God anointed him : 
His name shall be a star, his grave a shrine. 

Tread softly here, in silent reverence tread. 
Beneath those marble cenotaphs and urns 
Lies richer dust than ever nature hid 
Packed in the mountain's adamantine heart, 
Or slyly wrapped in unsuspected sand - 
The dross men toil for, and oft stain the soul. 
How vain and all ignoble seems that greed 
To him who stands in this dim claustral air 
With these most sacred ashes at his feet ! 
This dust was Chaucer, Spenser, Dryden this 
The spark that once illumed it lingers still. 
O ever hallowed spot of English earth ! 
If the unleashed and happy spirit of man 



278 A SHADOW OF THE NIGHT 

Have option to revisit our dull globe, 
What august Shades at midnight here convene 
In the miraculous sessions of the moon, 
When the great pulse of London faintly throbs, 
And one by one the constellations pale ! 



A SHADOW OF THE NIGHT 

CLOSE on the edge of a midsummer dawn 

In troubled dreams I went from land to land, 

Each seven-colored like the rainbow's arc, 

Regions where never fancy's foot had trod 

Till then yet all the strangeness seemed not 

strange, 

At which I wondered, reasoning in my dream 
With two-fold sense, well knowing that I slept. 
At last I came to this our cloud-hung earth, 
And somewhere by the seashore was a grave, 
A woman's grave, new-made, and heaped with 

flowers j 

And near it stood an ancient holy man 
That fain would comfort me, who sorrowed not 
For this unknown dead woman at my feet. 
But I, because his sacred office held 
My reverence, listened ; and 't was thus he spake : 
" When next thou comest thou shalt find her still 
In all the rare perfection that she was. 



THE LAST C^SAR 279 

Thou shalt have gentle greeting of thy love ! 

Her eyelids will have turned to violets, 

Her bosom to white lilies, and her breath 

To roses. What is lovely never dies, 

But passes into other loveliness, 

Star-dust, or sea-foam, flower, or winged air. 

If this befalls our poor unworthy flesh, 

Think the what destiny awaits the soul ! 

What glorious vesture it shall wear at last ! ' 

While yet he spoke, seashore and grave and priest, 

Vanished, and faintly from a neighboring spire 

Fell five slow solemn strokes upon my ear. 

Then I awoke with a keen pain at heart, 

A sense of swift unutterable loss, 

And through the darkness reached my hand to touch 

Her cheek, soft pillowed on one restful palm 

To be quite sure ! 



THE LAST C^SAR 

1851-1870 



Now there was one who came in later days 
To play at Emperor : in the dead of night 
Stole crown and sceptre, and stood forth to light 
In sudden purple. The dawn's straggling rays 



280 THE LAST C^SAR 

Showed Paris fettered, murmuring in amaze, 
With red hands at her throat a piteous sight. 
Then the new Caesar, stricken with affright 
At his own daring, shrank from public gaze 

In the Elysee, and had lost the day 
But that around him flocked his birds of prey, 
Sharp-beaked, voracious, hungry for the deed. 
'Twixt hope and fear behold great Caesar hang; 
Meanwhile, methinks, a ghostly laughter rang 
Through the rotunda of the Invalides. 



ii 

What if the boulevards, at the set of sun, 
Reddened, but not with sunset's kindly glow ? 
What if from quai and square the murmured woe 
Swept heavenward, pleadingly ? The prize was won, 
A kingling made and Liberty undone. 
No Emperor, this, like him a while ago, 
But his Name's shadow ; that one struck the blow 
Himself, and sighted the street-sweeping gun ! 

This was a man of tortuous heart and brain, 

So warped he knew not his own point of view 

The master of a dark, mysterious smile. 

And there he plotted, by the storied Seine 

And in the fairy gardens of St. Cloud, 

The Sphinx that puzzled Europe, for a while. 



THE LAST OESAR 281 

in 

I see him as men saw him once a face 

Of true Napoleon pallor ; round the eyes 

The wrinkled care ; moustache spread pinion-wise, 

Pointing his smile with odd sardonic grace 

As wearily he turns him in his place, 

And bends before the hoarse Parisian cries 

Then vanishes, with glitter of gold-lace 

And trumpets blaring to the patient skies. 

Not thus he vanished later ! On his path 
The Furies waited for the hour and man, 
Foreknowing that they waited not in vain. 
Then fell the day, O day of dreadful wrath ! 
Bow down in shame, O crimson-girt Sedan ! 
Weep, fair Alsace ! weep, loveliest Lorraine ! 

So mused I, sitting underneath the trees 
In that old garden of the Tuileries, 
Watching the dust of twilight sifting down 
Through chestnut boughs just touched with au- 
tumn's brown 

Not twilight yet, but that illusive bloom 
Which holds before the deep-etched shadows come ; 
For still the garden stood in golden mist, 
Still, like a river of molten amethyst, 
The Seine slipped through its spans of fretted stone, 



282 THE LAST C^SAR 

And near the grille that once fenced in a throne, 

The fountains still unbraided to the day 

The unsubstantial silver of their spray. 

A spot to dream in, love in, waste one's hours ! 

Temples and palaces, and gilded towers, 

And fairy terraces ! and yet, and yet 

Here in her woe came Marie Antoinette, 

Came sweet Corday, Du Barry with shrill cry, 

Not learning from her betters how to die ! 

Here, while the Nations watched with bated breath, 

Was held the saturnalia of Red Death ! 

For where that slim Egyptian shaft uplifts 

Its point to catch the dawn's and sunset's drifts 

Of various gold, the busy Headsman stood. . . . 

Place de la Concorde no, the Place of Blood ! 

And all so peaceful now ! One cannot bring 
Imagination to accept the thing. 
Lies, all of it ! some dreamer's wild romance 
High-hearted, witty, laughter-loving France ! 
In whose brain was it that the legend grew 
Of Maenads shrieking in this avenue, 
Of watch-fires burning, Famine standing guard, 
Of long-speared Uhlans in that palace-yard ! 
What ruder sound this soft air ever smote 
Than a bird's twitter or a bugle's note ? 
What darker crimson ever splashed these walks 
Than that of rose-leaves dropping from the stalks ? 



TENNYSON 283 

And yet what means that charred and broken 

wall, 

That sculptured marble, splintered, like to fall, 
Looming among the trees there ? . . . And you 

say 

This happened, as it were, but yesterday ? 
And here the Commune stretched a barricade, 
And there the final desperate stand was made ? 
Such things have been ? How all things change 

and fade ! 

How little lasts in this brave world below ! 
Love dies ; hate cools ; the Caesars come and go ; 
Gaunt Hunger fattens, and the weak grow strong. 
Even Republics are not here for long ! 

Ah, who can tell what hour may bring the doom, 
The lighted torch, the tocsin's heavy boom ! 



TENNYSON 



SHAKESPEARE and Milton what third blazoned 
name 

Shall Irps of after-ages link to these ? 

His who, beside the wild encircling seas, 
Was England's voice, her voice with one acclaim, 



284 TENNYSON 

For threescore years ; whose word of praise was 

fame, 
Whose scorn gave pause to man's iniquities. 



ii 

What strain was his in that Crimean war ? 
A bugle-call in battle ; a low breath, 
Plaintive and sweet, above the fields of death ! 
So year by year the music rolled afar, 
From Euxine wastes to flowery Kandahar, 
Bearing the laurel or the cypress wreath. 

in 

Others shall have their little space of time, 
Their proper niche and bust, then fade away 
Into the darkness, poets of a day ; 
But thou, O builder of enduring rhyme, 
Thou shalt not pass ! Thy fame in every clime 
On earth shall live where Saxon speech has 
sway. 

IV 

Waft me this verse across the winter sea, 

Through light and dark, through mist and 

blinding sleet, 
O winter winds, and lay it at his feet ; 



ALEC YEATON'S SON 285 

Though the poor gift betray my poverty, 
At his feet lay it : it may chance that he 

Will find no gift, where reverence is, unmeet. 



ALEC YEATON'S SON 

GLOUCESTER, AUGUST, 1720 

THE wind it wailed, the wind it moaned, 

And the white caps flecked the sea ; 
" An' I would to God," the skipper groaned, 
" I had not my boy with me ! " 

Snug in the stern-sheets, little John 
Laughed as the scud swept by ; 

But the skipper's sunburnt cheek grew wan 
As he watched the wicked sky. 

" Would he were at his mother's side ! ''' 
And the skipper's eyes were dim. 

" Good Lord in heaven, if ill betide, 
What would become of him ! 

"For me my muscles are as steel, 

For me let hap what may : 
I might make shift upon the keel 
Until the break o' day. 



286 ALEC YEATON'S SON 

" But he, he is so weak and small, 

So young, scarce learned to stand 
O pitying Father of us all, 
I trust him in Thy hand ! 

" For Thou, who markest from on high 

A sparrow's fall each one ! 
Surely, O Lord, thou 'It have an eye 
On Alec Yeaton's son ! ' : 

Then, steady, helm ! Right straight he sailed 

Towards the headland light : 
The wind it moaned, the wind it wailed, 

And black, black fell the night. 

Then burst a storm to make one quail 
Though housed from winds and waves 

They who could tell about that gale 
Must rise from watery graves ! 

Sudden it came, as sudden went ; 

Ere half the night was sped, 
The winds were hushed, the waves were spent, 

And the stars shone overhead. 

Now, as the morning mist grew thin, 

The folk on Gloucester shore 
Saw a little figure floating in 

Secure, on a broken oar ! 



BATUSCHKA 287 

Up rose the cry, " A wreck ! a wreck ! 

Pull, mates, and waste no breath ! " 
They knew it, though 'twas but a speck 

Upon the edge of death ! 

Long did they marvel in the town 

At God His strange decree, 
That let the stalwart skipper drown 

And the little child go free ! 



BATUSCHKA 1 

FROM yonder gilded minaret 
Beside the steel-blue Neva set, 
I faintly catch, from time to time, 
The sweet, aerial midnight chime 
" God save the Tsar ! " 

Above the ravelins and the moats 
Of the white citadel it floats ; 
And men in dungeons far beneath 
Listen, and pray, and gnash their teeth 
" God save the Tsar ! " 

1 " Little Father," or " Dear Little Father," a term of en- 
dearment applied to the Tsar in Russian folk-song. 



288 MONODY ON WENDELL PHILLIPS 

The soft reiterations sweep 
Across the horror of their sleep, 
As if some demon in his glee 
Were mocking at their misery * 
" God save the Tsar ! " 

In his Red Palace over there, 
Wakeful, he needs must hear the prayer. 
How can it drown the broken cries 
Wrung from his children's agonies ? 
" God save the Tsar ! " 

Father they called him from of old 
Batuschka ! . . . How his heart is cold ! 
Wait till a million scourged men 
Rise in their awful might, and then 
God save the Tsar ! 



MONODY ON THE DEATH OF WENDELL 

PHILLIPS 



ONE by one they go 
Into the unknown dark 
Starlit brows of the brave, 
Voices that drew men's souls. 



MONODY ON WENDELL PHILLIPS 289 

Rich is the land, O Death ! 
Can give you dead like our dead ! 
Such as he from whose hand 
The magic web of romance 
Slipped, and the art was lost ! 
Such as he who erewhile 
The last of the Titan brood 
With his thunder the Senate shook ; 
Or he who, beside the Charles, 
Untouched of envy or hate, 
Tranced the world with his song ; 
Or that other, that gray-eyed seer 
Who in pastoral Concord ways 
With Plato and Hafiz walked. 



ii 



Not of these was the man 

Whose wraith, through the mists of night, 

Through the shuddering wintry stars, 

Has passed to eternal morn. 

Fit were the moan of the sea 

And the clashing of cloud on cloud 

For the passing of that soul ! 

Ever he faced the storm ! 

No weaver of rare romance, 

No patient framer of laws, 

No maker of wondrous rhyme, 

No bookman wrapped in his dream. 



290 MONODY ON WENDELL PHILLIPS 

His was the voice that rang 
In the fight like a bugle-call, 
And yet could be tender and low 
As when, on a night in June, 
The hushed wind sobs in the pines. 
His was the eye that flashed 
With a sabre's azure gleam, 
Pointing to heights unwon ! 

in 

Not for him were these days 

Of clerkly and sluggish calm 

To the petrel the swooping gale ! 

Austere he seemed, but the hearts 

Of all men beat in his breast ; 

No fetter but galled his wrist, 

No wrong that was not his own. 

What if those eloquent lips 

Curled with the old-time scorn ? 

What if in needless hours 

His quick hand closed on the hilt ? 

*T was the smoke from the well-won fields 

That clouded the veteran's eyes. 

A fighter this to the end. 

Ah, if in coming times 
Some giant evil arise, 



TWO MOODS 291 

And Honor falter and pale, 

His were a name to conjure with ! 

God send his like again ! 



TWO MOODS 



BETWEEN the budding and the falling leaf 

Stretch happy skies ; 

With colors and sweet cries 

Of mating birds in uplands and in glades 

The world is rife. 

Then on a sudden all the music dies, 

The color fades. 

How fugitive and brief 

Is mortal life 

Between the budding and the falling leaf ! 

O short-breathed music, dying on the tongue 
Ere half the mystic canticle be sung ! 
O harp of life, so speedily unstrung ! 
Who, if 't were his to choose, would know again 
The bitter sweetness of the lost refrain, 
Its rapture, and its pain ? 



292 THE SHIPMAN'S TALE 

II 

Though I be shut in darkness, and become 
Insentient dust blown idly here and there, 
I count oblivion a scant price to pay 
For having once had held against my lip 
Life's brimming cup of hydromel and rue 
For having once known woman's holy love 
And a child's kiss, and for a little space 
Been boon companion to the Day and Night, 
Fed on the odors of the summer dawn, 
And folded in the beauty of the stars. 
Dear Lord, though I be changed to senseless clay, 
And serve the potter as he turns his wheel, 
I thank Thee for the gracious gift of tears 1 



THE SHIPMAN'S TALE 

LISTEN, my masters ! I speak naught but truth. 
From dawn to dawn they drifted on and on, 
Not knowing whither nor to what dark end. 
Now the North froze them, now the hot South 

scorched. 

Some called to God, and found great comfort so ; 
Some gnashed their teeth with curses, and some 

laughed 
An empty laughter, seeing they yet lived, 



THE SHIPMAN'S TALE 293 

So sweet was breath between their foolish lips. 
Day after day the same relentless sun, 
Night after night the same unpitying stars. 
At intervals fierce lightnings tore the clouds, 
Showing vast hollow spaces, and the sleet 
Hissed, and the torrents of the sky were loosed. 
From time to time a hand relaxed its grip, 
And some pale wretch slid down into the dark 
With stifled moan, and transient horror seized 
The rest who waited, knowing what must be. 
At every turn strange shapes reached up and 

clutched 

The whirling wreck, held on awhile, and then 
Slipped back into that blackness whence they came. 
Ah, hapless folk, to be so tossed and torn, 
So racked by hunger, fever, fire, and wave, 
And swept at last into the nameless void 
Frail girls, strong men, and mothers with their 

babes ! 

And was none saved ? 

My masters, not a soul ! 

O shipman, woful, woful is thy tale ! 

Our hearts are heavy and our eyes are dimmed. 

What ship is this that suffered such ill fate ? 

What ship, my masters? Know ye not? The 
World ! 



294 BROKEN MUSIC 

BROKEN MUSIC 

A note 

All out of tune in this world's instrument. 

AMY LEVY. 

I KNOW not in what fashion she was made, 

Nor what her voice was, when she used to speak, 
Nor if the silken lashes threw a shade 
On wan or rosy cheek. 

I picture her with sorrowful vague eyes 

Illumed with such strange gleams of inner light 
As linger in the drift of London skies 
Ere twilight turns to night. 

I know not; I conjecture. 'Twas a girl 

That with her own most gentle desperate hand 
From out God's mystic setting plucked life's pearl 
'Tis hard to understand. 

So precious life is ! Even to the old 

The hours are as a miser's coins, and she 
Within her hands lay youth's unminted gold 
And all felicity. 

The winged impetuous spirit, the white flame 

That was her soul once, whither has it flown ? 
Above her brow gray lichens blot her name 
Upon the carven stone. 



THE SAILING OF THE AUTOCRAT 295 

This is her Book of Verses wren-like notes, 

Shy franknesses, blind gropings, haunting fears j 
At times across the chords abruptly floats 
A mist of passionate tears. 

A fragile lyre too tensely keyed and strung, 

A broken music, weirdly incomplete : 
Here a proud mind, self-baffled and self-stung, 
Lies coiled in dark defeat. 



THE SAILING OF THE AUTOCRAT 

ON BOARD THE S. S. CEPHALONIA 
April 26, 1886 



O WIND and Wave, be kind to him ! 
So, Wave and Wind, we give thee thanks ! 
O Fog, that from Newfoundland Banks 
Makest the blue bright ocean dim, 
Delay him not ! And ye who snare 
The wayworn shipman with your song, 
Go pipe your ditties otherwhere 
While this brave vessel ploughs along ! 
If still to lure him hold your thought, 
O phantoms of the watery zone, 
Be wary, lest yourselves get caught 
With music sweeter than your own ! 



296 THE SAILING OF THE AUTOCRAT 

II 

Yet, soft sea spirits, be not mute ; 
Murmur about the prow, and make 
Melodious the west wind's lute. 
For him may radiant mornings break 
From out the bosom of the deep, 
And golden noons above him bend, 
And kindly constellations keep 
Bright vigils to his journey's end ! 

in 

Take him, green Erin, to thy breast ! 
Keep him, dark London for a while ! 
In him we send thee of our best, 
Our wisest word, our blithest smile 
Our epigram, alert and pat, 
That kills with joy the folly hit 
Our Yankee Tsar, our Autocrat 
Of all the happy realms of wit ! 
Take him and keep him but forbear 
To keep him more than half a year. . . . 
His presence will be sunshine there, 
His absence will be shadow here ! 

October 7, 1894 

" His absence will be shadow here " 
A deeper shadow than I meant 



AT THE FUNERAL OF A MINOR POET 297 

Has fallen on the waning year 

And with my lightsome verses blent. 

Another voyage was to be ! 

The ship that bears him now from shore, 

To plough an unknown, chartless sea, 

Shall bring him back to us no more ! 



AT THE FUNERAL OF A MINOR POET 

One of the Bearers soliloquises : 

. . . ROOM in your heart for him, O Mother Earth, 
Who loved each flower and leaf that made you 

fair, 

And sang your praise in verses manifold 
And delicate, with here and there a line 
From end to end in blossom like a bough 
The May breathes on, so rich it was. Some thought 
The workmanship more costly than the thing 
Moulded or carved, as in those ornaments 
Found at Mycenae. And yet Nature's self 
Works in this wise upon a blade of grass, 
Or what small note she lends the woodland thrush, 
Lavishing endless patience. He was born 
Artist, not artisan, which some few saw 
And many dreamed not. As he wrote no odes 
When Crcesus wedded or Maecenas died, 
And gave no breath to civic feasts and shows, 



298 AT THE FUNERAL OF A MINOR POET 

He missed the glare that gilds more facile men 

A twilight poet, groping quite alone, 

Belated, in a sphere where every nest 

Is emptied of its music and its wings. 

Not great his gift ; yet we can poorly spare 

Even his slight perfection in an age 

Of limping triolets and tame rondeaux. 

He had at least ideals, though unreached, 

And heard, far off, immortal harmonies, 

Such as fall coldly on our ear to-day. 

The mighty Zolaistic Movement now 

Engrosses us a miasmatic breath 

Blown from the slums. We paint life as it is, 

The hideous side of it, with careful pains, 

Making a god of the dull Commonplace. 

For have we not the old gods overthrown 

And set up strangest idols ? We would clip 

Imagination's wing and kill delight, 

Our sole art being to leave nothing out 

That renders art offensive. Not for us 

Madonnas leaning from their starry thrones 

Ineffable, nor any heaven-wrought dream 

Of sculptor or of poet ; we prefer 

Such nightmare visions as in morbid brains 

Take form and substance, thoughts that taint the 

air 

And make all life unlovely. Will it last ? 
Beauty alone endures from age to age, 



AT THE FUNERAL OF A MINOR POET 299 

From age to age endures, handmaid of God. 

Poets who walk with her on earth go hence 

Bearing a talisman. You bury one, 

With his hushed music, in some Potter's Field j 

The snows and rains blot out his very name, 

As he from life seems blotted : through Time's glass 

Slip the invisible and silent sands 

That mark the century, then falls a day 

The world is suddenly conscious of a flower, 

Imperishable, ever to be prized, 

Sprung from the mould of a forgotten grave. 

J T is said the seeds wrapped up among the balms 

And hieroglyphics of Egyptian kings 

Hold strange vitality, and, planted, grow 

After the lapse of thrice a thousand years. 

Some day, perchance, some unregarded note 

Of this dead Singer some sweet minor chord 

That failed to lure our more accustomed ear 

Shall wake to life, like those long buried seeds, 

And witch the fancy of an unborn age. 

Meanwhile he sleeps, with scantiest laurel won 

And little of our Nineteenth Century gold. 

So, take him, Earth, and this his mortal part, 

With that shrewd alchemy thou hast, transmute 

To flower and leaf in thine unending Springs ! 



300 PORTRAIT OF EDWIN BOOTH 



SARGENT'S PORTRAIT OF EDWIN 
BOOTH AT "THE PLAYERS" 

1891 

THAT face which no man ever saw 
And from his memory banished quite, 
With eyes in which are Hamlet's awe 
And Cardinal Richelieu's subtle light 
Looks from this frame. A master's hand 
Has set the master-player here, 
In the fair temple 1 that he planned 
Not for himself. To us most dear 
This image of him ! " It was thus 
He looked ; such pallor touched his cheek ; 
With that same grace he greeted us 
Nay, 't is the man, could it but speak ! ' 
Sad words that shall be said some day 
Far fall the day ! O cruel Time, 
Whose breath sweeps mortal things away, 
Spare long this image of his prime, 
That others standing in the place 
Where, save as ghosts, we come no more, 
May know what sweet majestic face 
The gentle Prince of Players wore ! 

1 The club-house in Gramercy Park, New York, was the 
gift of Mr. Booth to the association founded by him and 
named " The Players." 



WHEN FROM THE TENSE CHORDS 301 



"WHEN FROM THE TENSE CHORDS 
OF THAT MIGHTY LYRE" 

JANUARY, 1892 



WHEN from the tense chords of that mighty lyre 
The Master's hand, relaxing, falls away, 

And those rich strings are silent for all time, 
Then shall Love pine, and Passion lack her fire, 
And Faith seem voiceless. Man to man shall 

say, 
" Dead is the last of England's lords of rhyme." 

ii 

Yet stay ! there 's one, a later laurelled brow, 
With purple blood of poets in his veins ; 

Him has the Muse claimed ; him might Mar- 
lowe own ; 
Greek Sappho's son! men's praises seek him 

now. 

Happy the realm where one such voice re- 
mains ! 

His the dropped wreath and the unenvied 
throne. 



302 WHEN FROM THE TENSE CHORDS 

III 

The wreath the world gives, not the mimic wreath 
That chance might make the gift of king or queen. 

O finder of undreamed-of harmonies ! 
Since Shelley's lips were hushed by cruel death, 
What lyric voice so sweet as this has been 
Blown to us on the winds from over seas ? 



PAULINE PAVLOVNA 



SCENE : St. Petersburg. Period : the present time. A ballroom 
in the winter palace of the Prince . The ladies in charac- 
ter costumes and masks. The gentlemen in official dress and un- 
masked, with the exception of six tall figures in scarlet kaftans, 
who are treated with marked distinction as they move here and 
there among the promenaders. Quadrille music throughout the 
dialogue. 

COUNT SERGIUS PAVLOVICH PANSHINE, who has just arrived, 
is standing anxiously in the doorway of an antechamber with his 
eyes fixed upon a lady in the costume of a maid of honor in the 
time of Catharine II. The lady presently disengages herself from 
the crowd, and passes near COUNT PANSHINE, who impulsively 
takes her by the hand and leads her across the threshold of the 
inner apartment, which is unoccupied. 

HE 

Pauline ! 

SHE 

You knew me ? 

HE 

How could I have failed ? 
A mask may hide your features, not your soul. 

303 



304 PAULINE PAVLOVNA 

There is an air about you like the air 

That folds a star. A blind man knows the night, 

And feels the constellations. No coarse sense 



Of eye or ear had made you plain to me. 
Through these I had not found you ; for your eyes, 
As blue as violets of our Novgorod, 
Look black behind your mask there, and your 

voice 

I had not known that either. My heart said, 
" Pauline Pavlovna." 

SHE 

Ah ! Your heart said that ? 

You trust your heart, then ! 'T is a serious risk ! 
How is it you and others wear no mask ? 

HE 
The Emperor's orders. 

SHE 

Is the Emperor here ? 
I have not seen him. 

HE 

He is one of the six 
In scarlet kaftans and all masked alike. 
Watch you will note how every one bows down 
Before those figures, thinking each by chance 
May be the Tsar ; yet none knows which is he. 



PAULINE PAVLOVNA 305 

Even his counterparts are left in doubt. 
Unhappy Russia ! No serf ever wore 
Such chains as gall our Emperor these sad days. 
He dare trust no man. 

SHE 

All men are so false. 

HE 

Save one, Pauline Pavlovna. 

SHE 

No ; all, all ! 

I think there is no truth left in the world, 
In man or woman. Once were noble souls. 
Count Sergius, is Nastasia here to-night ? 

HE 

Ah ! then you know ! I thought to tell you first. 
Not here, beneath these hundred curious eyes, 
In all this glare of light ; but in some place 
Where I could throw me at your feet and weep. 
In what shape came the story to your ear ? 
Decked in the teller's colors, I '11 be sworn ; 
The truth, but in the livery of a lie, 
And so must wrong me. Only this is true : 
The Tsar, because I risked my wretched life 
To shield a life as wretched as my own, 
Bestows upon me, as supreme reward 



306 PAULINE PAVLOVNA 

O irony ! the hand of this poor girl. 

He stayed me at the bottom of a stair, 

And said, We have the pearl of 'pearls for you , 

Such as from out the sea was never plucked 

By Indian diver, for a Sultarfs crown. 

Your joy 's decreed, and stabbed me with a smile. 

SHE 
And she she loves you ? 

HE 

I much question that. 

Likes me, perhaps. What matters it ? her love ! 
The guardian, Sidor Yurievich, consents, 
And she consents. Love weighs not in such 

scales 

A mere caprice, a young girl's springtide dream. 
Sick of her ear-rings, weary of her mare, 
She '11 have a lover, something ready-made, 
Or improvised between two cups of tea 
A lover by imperial ukase ! 
Fate said her word I chanced to be the man ! 
If that grenade the crazy student threw 
Had not spared me, as well as spared the Tsar, 
All this would not have happened. I 'd have been 
A hero, but quite safe from her romance. 
She takes me for a hero think of that ! 
Now by our holy Lady of Kazan, 
When I have finished pitying myself, 
I'll pity her. 



PAULINE PAVLOVNA 307 

SHE 

Oh no ; begin with her ; 
She needs it most. 



HE 

At her door lies the blame, 
Whatever falls. She, with a single word, 
With half a tear, had stopped it at the first, 
This cruel juggling with poor human hearts. 

SHE 

The Tsar commanded it you said the Tsar. 

HE 

The Tsar does what she wishes God knows why. 
Were she his mistress, now ! but there 's no snow 
Whiter within the bosom of a cloud, 
Nor colder either. She is very haughty, 
For all her fragile air of gentleness ; 
With something vital in her, like those flowers 
That on our desolate steppes outlast the year. 
Resembles you in some things. It was that 
First made us friends. I do her justice, mark. 
For we were friends in that smooth surface way 
We Russians have imported out of France 
Forgetting Alma and Sevastopol. 
Alas ! from what a blue and tranquil heaven 
This bolt fell on me ! After these two years, 
My suit with Alexandrovitch at end, 



3o8 PAULINE PAVLOVNA 

The old wrong righted, the estates restored, 
And my promotion, with the ink not dry ! 
Those fairies which neglected me at birth 
Seemed now to lavish all good gifts on me 
Gold roubles, office, sudden dearest friends. 
The whole world smiled ; then, as I stooped to taste 
The sweetest cup, freak dashed it from my lip. 
This very night just think, this very night 
I planned to come and beg of you the alms 
I dared not ask for in my poverty. 
I thought me poor then. How stripped am I now ! 
There 's not a ragged mendicant one meets 
Along the Nevski Prospekt but has leave 
To tell his love, and I have not that right ! 
Pauline Pavlovna, why do you stand there 
Stark as a statue, with no word to say ? 

SHE 

Because this thing has frozen up my heart. 

I think that there is something killed in me, 

A dream that would have mocked all other bliss. 

What shall I say ? What would you have me say ? 

HE 
If it be possible, the word of words ! 

SHE, -very slowly 

Well, then I love you. I may tell you so 
This once, . . . and then for ever hold my peace. 



PAULINE PAVLOVNA 309 

We cannot longer stay here unobserved. 
No do not touch me ! but stand farther off, 
And seem to laugh, as if we talked in jest, 
Should we be watched. Now turn your face away. 
I love you. 

HE 

With such music in my ears 
I would death found me. It were sweet to die 
Listening ! You love me prove it. 

SHE 

Prove it how? 
I prove it saying it. How else ? 

HE 

Pauline, 
I have three things to choose from ; you shall 

choose : 

This marriage, or Siberia, or France. 
The first means hell ; the second, purgatory ; 
The third - - with you were nothing less than 

heaven ! 

SHE, starting 

How dared you even dream it ! 

HE 

I was mad. 



310 PAULINE PAVLOVNA 

This business has touched me in the brain. 
Have patience ! the calamity is new. [ 

There is a fourth way ; but that gate is shut 
To brave men who hold life a thing of God. 

SHE 
Yourself spoke there ; the rest was not of you. 

HE 

Oh, lift me to your level ! Where you move 
The air is temperate, and no pulses beat. 
What 's to be done ? 

SHE 

I lack invention stay, 
Perhaps the Emperor 



HE 

Not a shred of hope ! 

His mind is set on this with that insistence 
Which seems to seize on all match-making folk. 
The fancy bites them, and they straight go mad. 

SHE 

Your father's friend, the Metropolitan 
A word from him . . . 

HE 

Alas, he too is bitten ! 



PAULINE PAVLOVNA 311 

Gray-haired, gray-hearted, worldly wise, he sees 
This marriage makes me the Tsar's prote'ge, 
And opens every door to preference. 

SHE 

Then let him be. There surely is some way 
Out of the labyrinth, could we but find it. 
Nastasia ! 

HE 

What ! beg life of her ? Not I. 

SHE 

Beg love. She is a woman, young, perhaps, 
Untouched as yet of this too poisonous air. 
Were she told all, would she not pity us ? 
For if she love you, as I think she must, 
Would not some generous impulse stir in her, 
Some latent, unsuspected spark illume ? 
How love thrills even commonest girl-clay, 
Ennobling it an instant, if no more ! 
You said that she is proud ; then touch her pride, 
And turn her into marble with the touch. 
But yet the gentler passion is the stronger. 
Go to her, tell her, in some tenderest phrase 
That will not hurt too much ah, but 't will hurt ! 
Just how your happiness lies in her hand 
To make or mar for all time ; hint, not say, 
Your heart is gone from you, and you may find 



312 PAULINE PAVLOVNA 

HE 

A casemate in St. Peter and St. Paul 
For, say, a month ; then some Siberian town. 
Not this way lies escape. At my first word 
That sluggish Tartar blood would turn to fire 
In every vein. 



SHE 

How blindly you read her, 
Or any woman ! Yes, I know. I grant 
How small we often seem in our small world 
Of trivial cares and narrow precedents 
Lacking that wide horizon stretched for men 
Capricious, spiteful, frightened at a mouse ; 
But when it comes to suffering mortal pangs, 
The weakest of us measures pulse with you. 

HE 

Yes, you, not she. If she were at your height ! 

But there 's no martyr wrapped in her rose flesh. 

There should have been ; for Nature gave you both 

The self-same purple for your eyes and hair, 

The self-same Southern music to your lips, 

Fashioned you both, as 't were, in the same mould, 

Yet failed to put the soul in one of you ! 

I know her wilful her light head quite turned 

In this court atmosphere of flatteries ; 

A Moscow beauty, petted and spoiled there, 

And since spoiled here ; as soft as swan's-down now, 



PAULINE PAVLOVNA 313 

With words like honey melting from the comb, 
But being crossed, vindictive, cruel, cold. 
I fancy her, between two languid smiles, 
Saying, " Poor fellow, in the Nertchinsk mines ! " 
I know her pitiless. 

SHE 

You know her not. 

Count Sergius Pavlovich, you said no mask 
Could hide the soul, yet how you have mistaken 
The soul these two months and the face to-night ! 

o 
\_Removes her mask 

HE 

You ! it was you f 

SHE 

Count Sergius Pavlovich, 
Go find Pauline Pavlovna she is here 
And tell her that the Tsar has set you free. 

[She goes out hurriedly, replacing her mask 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 



BOOK I 
JUDITH IN THE TOWER 

UNHERALDED, like some tornado loosed 
Out of the brooding hills, it came to pass 
That Holofernes, the Assyrian, 
With horse and foot a mighty multitude, 
Crossed the Euphrates, ravaging the land 
To Esdraelon, and then hawk-like swooped 
On Bethulia : there his trenches drew, 
There his grim engines of destruction set 
And stormed the place ; and gave them little rest 
Within, till sad their plight was ; for at last 
The wells ran low, the stores of barley failed, 
And famine crept on them. A wheaten loaf 
Was put in this scale and the gold in that, 
So scarce was bread. Now were the city streets 
Grown loud with lamentation, women's moans 
And cries of children ; and one night there came 
The plague, with breath as hot as the simoom 
That blows the desert sand to flakes of fire. 

315 



316 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Yet Holofernes could not batter down 
The gates of bronze, nor decent entrance make 
With beam or catapult in those tough walls, 
Nor with his lighted arrows fire the roofs. 
Gnawing his lip, among the tents he strode 
Woe to the slave that stumbled in his path ! 
And cursed the doting gods, who gave no aid, 
But slumbered somewhere in their house of cloud. 
Still wan-cheeked Famine and red-spotted Pest 
Did their fell work ; these twain were his allies. 
So he withdrew his men a little way 
Into the hill-land, where good water was, 
And shade of trees that spread their forked boughs 
Like a stag's antlers. There he pitched his tents 
On the steep slope, and counted the slow hours, 
Teaching his heart such patience as he knew. 

At midnight, in that second month of siege, 
Judith had climbed into a mouldered tower 
That looked out on the vile Assyrian camp 
Stretched on the slopes beyond an open plain. 
Here did she come, of late, to think and pray. 
Below her, where the spiral vapors rose, 
The army like a witch's caldron seethed. 
At times she heard the camels' gurgling moan, 
The murmur of men's tongues, and clank of arms 
Muffled by distance. Through the tree-stems shone 
The scattered watchfires, lurid fiends of night 




"JUDITH." Page 310. 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 317- 

That with red hands reached up and clutched the 

dark ; 

And now and then as some mailed warrior strode 
Into the light, she saw his armor gleam. 
The city, with its pestilential breath, 
A hive of woes, lay close beneath her feet ; 
Above her leaned the sleepless Pleiades. 

That night she held long vigil in the tower, 
Merari's daughter, dead Manasseh's wife, 
Who, since the barley harvest when he died, 
Had dwelt three years a widow in her house, 
And looked on no man : where Manasseh slept 
In his strait sepulchre, there slept her heart. 
Yet dear to her, and for his memory dear, 
Was Israel, the chosen people, now 
How shorn of glory ! Hither had she come 
To pray in the still starlight, far from those 
Who watched or wept in the sad world below , 
And in the midnight, in the tower alone, 
She knelt and prayed as one that doubted not; 

" Oh, are we not Thy children who of old 
Trod the Chaldean idols in the dust, 
And built our altars only unto Thee ? 

" Didst Thou not lead us into Canaan 
For love of us, because we spurned the gods ? 
Didst Thou not shield us that we worshipped The& ? 



3i8 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

"And when a famine covered all the land, 
And drove us into Egypt, where the King 
Did persecute Thy chosen to the death 

" Didst Thou not smite the swart Egyptians then, 
And guide us through the bowels of the deep 
That swallowed up their horsemen and their King ? 

" For saw we not, as in a wondrous dream, 
The up-tossed javelins, the plunging steeds, 
The chariots sinking in the wild Red Sea? 

" O Lord, Thou hast been with us in our woe, 
And from Thy bosom Thou hast cast us forth, 
And to Thy bosom taken us again : 

" For we have built our temples in the hills 
By Sinai, and on Jordan's sacred banks, 
And in Jerusalem we worship Thee. 

" O Lord, look down and help us. Stretch Thy 

hand 

And free Thy people. Make our faith as steel, 
And draw us nearer, nearer unto Thee." 

Then Judith loosed the hair about her brows, 
About her brows the long black tresses loosed, 
And bent her head, and wept for Israel. 
And while she wept, bowed like a lotus flower 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 319 

That leans to its own shadow in the Nile, 

A strangest silence fell upon the land ; 

Like to a sea-mist spreading east and west 

It spread, and close on this there came a sound 

Of snow-soft plumage rustling in the dark, 

And voices that such magic whisperings made 

As the sea makes at twilight on a strip 

Of sand and pebble. Slowly from her knees 

Judith arose, but dared not lift her eyes, 

Awed with the sense that now beside her stood 

A God's white Angel, though she saw him not, 

While round the tower a winged retinue 

In the wind's eddies drifted ; then the world 

Crumbled and vanished, and nought else she knew. 

The Angel stooped, and from his luminous brow 

And from the branch of amaranth he bore 

A gleam fell on her, touching eyes and lips 

With light ineffable, and she became 

Fairer than morning in Arabia. 

On cheek and brow and bosom lay such tint 

As in the golden process of mid-June 

Creeps up the slender stem to dye the rose. 

Then silently the Presence spread his vans. 

Like one that from a lethargy awakes 

The Hebrew woman started : in the tower 

No winged thing was, save on a crossbeam 

A twittering sparrow ; from the underworld 

Came sounds of pawing hoof, and clink of steel ; 

And where the black horizon blackest lay 



3 2o JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

A moment gone, a thread of purple ran 

That changed to rose, and then to sudden gold. 

And Judith stood bewildered, with flushed cheek 
Pressed to the stone-work. When she knelt to 

pray 

It was dead night, and now 't was break of dawn ; 
Yet had not sleep upon her eyelids set 
Its purple seal. In this strange interval 
Of void or trance, or slumber-mocking death, 
What had befallen ? As a skein of silk, 
Dropped by a weaver seated at his loom, 
Lies in a tangle, and but knots the more, 
And slips the fingers seeking for the clue : 
So all her thought lay tangled in her brain, 
And what had chanced eluded memory. 

Now was day risen ; on the green foothills 
Men were in motion, and such life as was 
In the sad city dragged itself to light. 
Then Judith turned, and slowly down the stair 
Descended to the court. Outside the gate, 
In the broad sun, lounged Achior, lately fled 
From Holofernes ; as she passed she spoke : 
" The Lord be with thee, Achior, all thy days." 
And Achior captain of the Ammonites, 
In exile, but befriended of the Jews 
Paused, and looked after her with pensive eyes. 
Unknown of any one, these many months 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

His corselet held a hopeless tender heart 

For dead Manasseh's wife too fair she was, 

And rich this day how wonderfully fair ! 

But she, unheedful, crossed the tile-paved court, 

And passing through an archway reached the place 

Where underneath an ancient aloe-tree 

Sat Chabris with Ozias and his friend 

Charmis, patriarchs of the leaguered town. 

There Judith halted, and obeisance made 
With hands crossed on her breast, as was most 

meet, 

They being aged men and governors. 
And as she bent before them where they sate, 
They marvelled much that in that stricken town 
Was one face left not hunger-pinched, or wan, 
With grief's acquaintance : such was Judith's face. 
And white-haired Charmis looked on her, and 

said : 
" This woman walketh in the light of God." 

" Would it were so ! ' said Judith. " I know 

not ; 

But this I know, that where faith is, is light. 
Let us not doubt Him ! If we doubt we die. 
Oh, is it true, Ozias, thou hast mind 
To yield the city to our enemies 
After five days, unless the Lord shall stoop 
From heaven to save us ? ' 



322 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

And Ozias said : 

" Our young men perish on the battlements ; 
Our wives and children by the empty wells 
Lie down and perish." 

" If we doubt we die. 
But whoso trusts in God, as Isaac did, 
Though suffering greatly even to the end, 
Dwells in a citadel upon a rock ; 
Wave shall not reach it, nor fire topple down." 

" Our young men perish on the battlements," 
Answered Ozias ; " by the dusty tanks, 
Our wives and children." 

" They shall go and dwell 
With Seers and Prophets in eternal life. 
Is there no God ? ' 

" One only," Chabris spoke, 
" But now His face is turned aside from us. 
He sees not Israel." 

" Is His mercy less 

Than Holofernes' ? Shall we place our trust 
In this fierce bull of Asshur ? ' 

" Five days more," 
Said old Ozias, " we 'shall trust in God." 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 323 

" Ah ! His time is not man's time," Judith cried, 
" And why should we, the dust beneath His feet, 
Decide the hour of our deliverance, 
Saying to Him : Thus shalt Thou do, and so ? 
Ozias, thou to whom the heart of man 
Is as a scroll illegible, dost thou 
Pretend to read the mystery of God ? ' 

Then gray Ozias bowed his head, abashed, 
And spoke not ; but the white-haired Charmis 

spoke : 

" The woman sayeth wisely. We are wrong 
That in our anguish mock the Lord our God, 
Staff that we rest on, stream whereat we drink ! ' 
And then to Judith : " Child, what wouldst thou 

have ? " 

" I cannot answer thee, nor make it plain 
In my own thought. This night I had a dream 
Not born of sleep, for both my eyes were wide, 
My sense alive a vision, if thou wilt, 
Of which the scattered fragments in my mind 
Are as the fragments of a crystal vase 
That, slipping from the slave-girl's careless hand, 
Falls on the marble. No most cunning skill 
Shall join the pieces and make whole the vase. 
So with my vision. I seem still to hear 
Strange voices round me, inarticulate 
Words shaped and uttered by invisible lips ; 



324 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

At whiles there seems a palm close pressed to mine 

That fain would lead me somewhere. I know not 

What all portends. Some great event is near. 

Last night celestial spirits were on wing 

Over the city. As I sat alone 

Within the tower, upon the stroke of twelve 

Look, look, Ozias ! Charmis, Chabris, look ! 

See ye not, yonder, a white mailed hand 

That with its levelled finger points through air ! " 

The three old men, with lifted, startled eyes, 
Turned, and beheld on the transparent void 
A phantom hand in silver gauntlet clad 
With stretched forefinger ; and they spake no word, 
But in the loose folds of their saffron robes 
Their wan and meagre faces muffled up, 
And sat there, like those statues which the wind 
Near some old city on a desert's edge 
Wraps to the brow in cerements of red dust. 

After a silence Judith softly said : 
" 'T is gone ! Fear not ; it was a sign to me, 
To me alone. Ozias, didst thou mark 
The way it pointed ? to the Eastern Gate ! 
Send the guard orders not to stay me there. 

question not ! I but obey the sign. 

1 must go hence. Before the shadows fall 
Upon the courtyard thrice, I shall return, 
Else shall men's eyes not look upon me more. 
What darkness lies between this hour and that 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 325 

Tongue may not say. The thing I can I will, 
Leaning on God, remembering what befell 
Jacob in Syria when he fed the flocks 
Of Laban, and how Isaac in his day, 
And Abraham, were chastened by the Lord. 
Wait thou in patience ; till I come, keep thou 
The sanctuaries." And the three gave oath 
To hold the town ; and if they held it not, 
Then should she find them in the synagogue 
Dead near the sacred ark ; the spearmen dead 
At the four gates ; upon the battlements 
The archers bleaching. "Be it so," she said, 
" Yet be it not so ! Shield me with thy prayers ! ' 

Then Judith made obeisance as before, 
Passed on, and left them pondering her words 
And that weird spectre hand in silver mail, 
Which, vanishing, had left a moth-like glow 
Against the empty, unsubstantial air. 
Still were their eyes fixed on it in mute awe. 

When Judith gained her room in the dull court, 
Where all the houses in the shadow lay 
Of the great synagogue, she threw aside 
The livery of grief, and in her hair 
Braided a thread of opals, on her breasts 
Poured precious ointment, and put on the robe 
That in a chest of camphor-wood had lain 
Unworn since she was wed- -the proud silk robe, 
Heavy with vine-work, delicate flower and star, 



326 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

And looped at the brown shoulder with a pearl 
To ransom princes. Had he seen her then, 
The sad young captain of the Ammonites, 
Had he by chance but seen her as she stood 
Clasping her girdle, it had been despair ! 

Then Judith veiled her face, and took her scarf, 
And wrapped the scarf about her, and went forth 
Into the street with Marah, the handmaid. 
It was the hour when all the wretched folk 
Haunted the market-stalls to get such scraps 
As famine left ; the rich bazaars were closed, 
Those of the cloth-merchants and jewellers ; 
But to the booths where aught to eat was had, 
The starving crowds converged, vociferous. 
Thus at that hour the narrow streets were thronged 
And as in summer when the bearded wheat, 
With single impulse leaning all one way, 
Follows the convolutions of the wind, 
And parts to left or right, as the wind veers : 
So went men's eyes with Judith, so the crowd 
Parted to give her passage. On she pressed 
Through noisome lanes where poverty made lair, 
By stately marble porticos pressed on 
To the East Gate, a grille of triple bronze, 
That lifted at her word, and then shut down 
With horrid clangor. The crude daylight there 
Dazed her an instant ; then she set her face 
Towards Holofernes' camp in the hill-land. 



BOOK II 
THE CAMP OF ASSHUR 

O SADDENED Muse, sing not of that rough way 
Her light feet trod among the flints and thorns, 
Where some chance arrow might have stained her 

breast, 

And death lay coiled in the slim viper's haunt ; 
Nor how the hot sun tracked them till they reached, 
She and her maid, a place of drooping boughs 
Cooled by a spring set in a cup of moss, 
And bathed their cheeks, and gathered mulberries, 
And at the sudden crackling of a twig 
Were wellnigh dead with fear : sing, rather, now 
Of Holofernes, stretched before his tent 
Upon the spotted hide of that wild beast 
He slew beside the Ganges, he alone 
With just his dagger; from the jungle there 
The creature leapt on him, and tore his throat, 
In the dim starlight : that same leopard skin 
Went with him to all wars. This day he held 
A council of the chiefs. Close at his feet 
His iron helmet trailed on the sere grass 
Its horsehair plume- -a Hindu maiden's hair, 

3 2 7 



328 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Men whispered under breath ; and from his lance, 
The spear set firmly in the sun-scorched earth 
Where he had thrust it, hung his massive shield. 
Upon the shield a dragon was, with eyes 
Of sea-green emeralds, which caught the light 
And flashed it back, and seemed a thing that lived. 

There lay the Prince of Asshur, with his chin 
Propped on one hand, and the gaunt captains ranged 
In groups about him ; men from Kurdistan, 
Men from the Indus, and the salt-sea dunes, 
And those bleak snow-lands that to northward lie 
A motley conclave, now in hot debate 
Whether to press the siege or wait the end. 
And one said : " Lo ! the fruit is ripe to fall, 
Let us go pluck it ; better to lie dead, 
Each on his shield, than stay here with no grain 
To feed the mares, and no bread left." " The moat 
Is wide," said one, " and many are the spears, 
And stout the gates. Have we not tried our men 
Against the well-set edges of those spears ? 
Note how the ravens wheel in hungry files 
Above the trenches, and straight disappear. 
See where they rise, red-beaked and surfeited ! 
Has it availed ? The city stands. Within 
There 's that shall gnaw its heart out, if we wait, 
And bide the sovran will of the wise gods." 
Some of the younger captains made assent, 
But others scowled, and mocked them, and one 
cried : 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 329 

" Ye should have tarried by the river's bank 

At home, and decked your hair with butterflies 

Like the king's harlots. Little use are ye." 

" Nay," cried another, "they did well to come ; 

They have their uses. When our meat is gone 

We '11 even feed upon the tender flesh 

Of these tame girls, who, though they dress in steel, 

Like more the tremor of a cithern string 

Than the shrill whistle of an arrowhead." 

Death lay in lighter spoken words than these, 
And quick hands sought the hilt, and spears were 

poised, 

And they had one another slain outright, 
These fiery lords, when suddenly each blade 
Slipped back to sheath, and the pale captains stood 
Transfixed, beholding in their very midst 
A woman whose exceeding radiance 
Of brow and bosom made her garments seem 
Threadbare and lustreless, yet whose attire 
Outshone the purples of a Persian queen 
That decks her for some feast, or makes her rich 
To welcome back from war her lord the king. 

For Judith, who knew all the hillside paths 
As one may know the delicate azure veins 
That branch and cross on his beloved's wrist, 
Had passed the Tartar guards in the thick wood, 
And gained the camp's edge, and there stayed hei 
steps, 



330 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Appalled at sight of all those angry lords, 
But taking heart, had noiselessly approached, 
And stood among them, unperceived till then. 
Now on the air arose such murmurous sound 
As when a swarm of honey-bees in June 
Rises, and hangs mist-like above the hives, 
And fills the air with its sweet monotone. 
The Prince of Asshur knew not what it meant, 
And springing to his feet, thrust back the chiefs 
That hampered him, and cried in a loud voice : 
" Who breaks upon our councils ? ' Then his eyes 
Discovered Judith. As in a wild stretch 
Of silt and barren rock, a gracious flower, 
Born of the seed some bird of passage dropped, 
Leans from the stem and with its beauty lights 
The lonely waste, so Judith, standing there, 
Seemed to illumine all the dismal camp, 
And Holofernes' voice took softer tone : 
" Whence comest thou thy station, and thy 
name ? ' : 

" Merari's daughter, dead Manasseh's wife, 
Judith. I come from yonder hapless town." 

" Methought the phantom of some murdered 

queen 

From the dead years had risen at my feet ! 
If these Samarian women are thus shaped, 
O my brave Captains, let not one be slain ! 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 331 

What seekest thou within the hostile lines 
Of Asshur ? " 

" Holofernes." 

" This is he." 

" O good my Lord," cried Judith, " if indeed 
Thou art that Holofernes whom I seek, 
And dread, in truth, to find, low at thy feet 
Behold thy handmaid who in fear has flown 
From a doomed people." 

" If this thing be so, 

Thou shalt have shelter of our tents, and food, 
And meet observance, though our enemy. 
Touching thy people, they with tears of blood, 
And ashes on their heads, shall rue the hour 
They brought not tribute to the lord of all, 
The king at Nineveh. But thou shalt live." 

" O good my lord," said Judith, " as thou wilt 
So would thy servant. And I pray thee now 
Let them that listen stand awhile aside, 
For I have that for thine especial ear 
Of import to thee." 

Then the chiefs fell back 
Under the trees, and leaned on their huge shields, 



332 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Eyeing the Hebrew woman whose sweet looks 
Brought them home-thoughts and visions of their 

wives 

In that far land they might not see again. 
And Judith spoke, and they strained ear to catch 
Her words ; but only the soft voice was theirs : 

" My lord, if yet thou holdest in thy thought 
The words which Achior the Ammonite 
Once spake to thee concerning Israel. 
O treasure them ; no guile was in those words. 
True is it, master, that our people kneel 
To an unseen but not an unknown God : 
By day and night He watches over us, 
And while we worship Him we cannot fall, 
Our tabernacles shall be unprofaned, 
Our spears invincible ; but if we sin, 
If we transgress the law by which we live, 
Our sanctuaries shall be desecrate, 
Our tribes thrust forth into the wilderness, 
Scourged and accursed. Therefore, O my lord, 
Seeing this nation wander from the faith 
Taught of the Prophets, I have fled dismayed. 
Heed, Holofernes, what I speak this day, 
And if the thing I tell thee prove not true, 
Let not thy falchion tarry in its sheath, 
But seek my heart. Why should thy handmaid 

live, 
Having deceived thee, thou the crown of men ? ' 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 333 

She spoke, and paused ; and sweeter on his ear 
Was Judith's voice than ever to him seemed 
The silver laughter of the Assyrian girls 
In the bazaars, or when in the cool night, 
After the sultry heat of the long day, 
They came down to the river with their lutes. 
The ceaseless hum that rose from the near tents, 
The neighing of the awful battle-steeds, 
The winds that sifted through the fronded palms 
He heard not ; only Judith's voice he heard. 

" O listen, Holofernes, my sweet lord, 
And thou shalt rule not only Bethulia, 
Rich with its hundred altars' crusted gold, 
But Cades-Barne and Jerusalem, 
And all the vast hill-land to the blue sea. 
For I am come to give into thy hand 
The key of Israel Israel now no more, 
Since she disowns the Prophets and her God." 

" Speak, for I needs must listen to these things." 

" Know then, O prince, it is our yearly use 
To lay aside the first fruits of the grain, 
And so much oil, so many skins of wine, 
Which, being sanctified, are held intact 
For. the High Priests who serve before our Lord 
In the great temple at Jerusalem. 
This holy food which even to touch is death 



334 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

The rulers, sliding from their ancient faith, 
Fain would lay hands on, being wellnigh starved; 
And they have sent a runner to the Priests 
(The Jew Abijah, who, at dead of night, 
Shot like a javelin between thy guards), 
Bearing a parchment begging that the Church 
Yield them permit to eat the sacred corn. 
But 't is not lawful they should do this thing, 
Yet will they do it. Then shalt thou behold 
The archers tumbling headlong from the walls, 
Their strength gone from them ; thou shalt see the 

spears 

Splitting like reeds within the spearmen's hands, 
And the strong captains tottering like old men 
Stricken with palsy. Then, O mighty prince, 
Then with thy trumpets blaring doleful dooms, 
And thy silk banners waving in the wind, 
With squares of men and eager clouds of horse 
Thou shalt sweep down on them, and strike them 

dead ! 

But now, my lord, before this come to pass, 
Three days must wane, for they touch not the food 
Until the Jew Abijah shall return 
With the Priests' message. Here among thy hosts, 
O Holofernes, would I dwell the while, 
Asking but this, that I and my handmaid 
Each night, at the twelfth hour, may egress have 
Unto the valley, there to weep and pray 
That God forsake this nation in its sin. 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 335 

And as my prophecy prove true or false, 
So be it with me." 



Judith ceased, and stood 

With hands crossed on her breast, and face up- 
raised. 

And Holofernes answered not at first, 
But bent his eyes on the uplifted face, 
And mused, and then made answer : " Be it so. 
Thou shalt be free to go and come, and none 
Shall stay thee, nor molest thee, these three days. 
And if, O pearl of women, the event 
Prove not a dwarf beside the prophecy, 
Then hath the sun not looked upon thy like ; 
Thy name shall be as honey on men's lips, 
And in their memory fragrant as a spice. 
Music shall wait on thee ; crowns shalt thou have, 
And jewel chests of costly sandal-wood, 
And robes in texture like the ring-dove's throat, 
And milk-white mares, and slaves, and chariots ; 
And thou shalt dwell with me in Nineveh, 
In Nineveh, the City of the Gods." 

Then on her cheek the ripe blood of her race 
Faltered an instant. " Even as thou wilt 
So would thy servant." Thereupon the slaves 
Brought meat and wine, and placed them in a 

tent, 
A green pavilion standing separate 



336 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Hard by the brook, for Judith and her maid. 
But Judith ate not, saying : " Master, no. 
It is not lawful that we taste of these ; 
My maid has brought a pouch of parched corn, 
And bread and figs and wine of our own land, 
Which shall not fail us." Holofernes said, 
" So let it be," and pushing back the screen 
Passed out, and left them sitting in the tent. 

And when they were alone within the tent, 
"O Marah," cried the mistress, "do I dream? 
Is this the dread Assyrian rumor paints, 
He who amid the hills of Ragau smote 
The hosts of King Arphaxad, and despoiled 
Sidon and Tyrus, and left none unslain ? 
Gentle is he we thought so terrible, 
Whose name we stilled unruly children with 
At bedtime See! the Bull of Asshur comes ! 
And all the little ones would straight to bed. 
Is he not statured as should be a king ? 
Beside our tallest captain this grave prince 
Towers like the palm above the olive-tree. 
A gentle prince, with gracious words and ways." 
And Marah said : " A gentle prince he is 
To look on ; I misdoubt his ways and words." 
"And I, O Marah, I would trust him not ! 5: 
And Judith laid her cheek upon her arm 
With a quick laugh, and like to diamonds 
Her white teeth shone between the parted lips. 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 337 

Now Holofernes held himself aloof 
That day, spoke little with his chiefs, nor cared 
To watch the athletes at their games of strength 
Under the cedars, as his custom was, 
But in a grove of clustered tamarisk trees 
On the camp's outer limit walked alone, 
Save for one face that haunted the blue air, 
Save for one voice that murmured at his ear. 
There, till the twilight flooded the low lands 
And the stars came, these kept him company. 

The word of Judith's beauty had spread wide 
Through the gray city that stretched up the slope ; 
And as the slow dusk gathered many came 
From far encampments, on some vain pretext, 
To pass the green pavilion long-haired men 
That dwelt by the Hydaspes, and the sons 
Of the Elymeans, and slim Tartar youths, 
And folk that stained their teeth with betel-nut 
And wore rough goatskin, herdsmen of the hills ; 
But saw not Judith, who from common air 
Was shut, and none might gaze upon her face. 

But when the night fell, and the camps were 

still, 

And nothing moved beneath the icy stars 
In their blue bourns, save some tall Kurdish guard 
That stalked among the cedars, Judith called 
And wakened Marah. and the sentinel 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Drew back, and let them pass beyond the lines 

Into the plain ; and Judith's heart was full 

Seeing the watchfires burning on the towers 

Of her own city. As a hundred years 

The hours seemed since she stood within its walls 

Her heart so yearned to it. Here on the sand 

The two knelt down in prayer, and Marah thought : 

" How is it we should come so far to pray ? ' 

Not knowing Judith's cunning that had gained 

By this device free passage to and fro 

Between the guards. When they had prayed, they 

rose 
And went through the black shadows back to camp. 

One cresset twinkled dimly in the tent 
Of Holofernes, and Bagoas, his slave, 
Lay on a strip of matting at the door, 
Drunk with the wine of sleep. Not so his lord 
On the soft leopard skin ; a fitful sleep 
Was his this night, tormented by a dream 
That ever waked him. Through the curtained 

air 

A tall and regal figure came and went ; 
At times a queen's bright diadem pressed down 
The bands of perfumed hair, and gold -wrought 

stuffs 

Rustled ; at times the apparition stood 
Draped only in a woven mist of veils, 
Like the king's dancing-girls at Nineveh. 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 339 

And once it stole to his couch side, and stooped 
And touched his brow with tantalizing lip, 
Undoing all the marvel of the dream ; 
For Holofernes turned then on the couch, 
Sleep fled his eyelids, and would come no more. 



BOOK III 
THE FLIGHT 

ON the horizon, as the prow of Dawn 

Ploughed through the huddled clouds, a wave of 

gold 

Went surging up the dark, and breaking there 
Dashed its red spray against the cliffs and spurs, 
But left the valley in deep shadow still. 
And still the mist above the Asshur camp 
Hung in white folds, and on the pendent boughs 
The white dew hung. While yet no bird had 

moved 

A wing in its dim nest, the wakeful prince 
Rose from the couch, and wrapped in his long 

cloak 

Stepped over the curved body of the slave, 
And thridding moodily the street of tents 
Came to the grove of clustered tamarisk trees 
Where he had walked and mused the bygone 

day. 

Here on a broken ledge he sat him down, 
Soothed by the morning scent of flower and herb 

340 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 341 

And the cool vintage of the unbreathed air ; 
And presently the sleep that night denied 
The gray dawn brought him ; and he slept and 
dreamed. 

Before him rose the pinnacles and domes 
Of Nineveh ; he walked the streets, and heard 
The chatter of the merchants in the booths 
Pricing their wares, the water-seller's cry, 
The flower-girl's laugh a festival it seemed, 
In honor of some conqueror or god, 
For cloths of gold and purple tissues hung 
From frieze and peristyle, and cymbals clashed, 
And the long trumpets sounded : now he breathed 
The airs of a great river sweeping down 
Past ruined temples and the tombs of kings, 
And heard the wash of waves on a vague coast. 
Then, in the swift transition of a dream, 
He found himself in a damp catacomb 
Searching by torchlight for his own carved name 
On a sarcophagus ; and as he searched 
A group of wailing shapes drew slowly near 
The hates and cruel passions of his youth 
Become incorporate and immortal things, 
With tongue to blazon his eternal guilt ; 
And on him fell strange terror, who had known 
Neither remorse nor terror, and he sprang 
Upon his feet, and broke from out the spell, 
Clutching his sword-hilt ; and before him stood 



342 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Bagoas, the eunuch, bearing on his head 
An urn just filled at the clear brook hard by. 

Then Holofernes could have struck the slave 
Dead in his path what man had ever seen 
The Prince of Asshur tremble ? But he turned 
Back to the camp, and the slave followed on 
At heel, grown sullen also, like a hound 
That takes each color of his master's mood. 
And when the two had reached the tent, the prince 
Halted, and went not in at once, but said : 
" Go, fetch me wine, and let my soul make cheer, 
For I am sick with visions of the night." 

Within the tent alone, he sat and mused : 
" What thing is this hath so unstrung my heart 
A foolish dream appalls me ? what dark spell ? 
Is it an omen that the end draws nigh ? 
Such things foretell the doom of fateful men 
Stars, comets, apparitions hint their doom. 
The night before my grandsire got his wound 
In front of Memphis, and therewith was dead, 
He dreamt a lying Ethiop he had slain 
Was strangling him ; and, later, my own sire 
Saw death in a red writing on a leaf. 
And I, too " Here Bagoas brought the wine 
And set it by him ; but he pushed it back. 
" Nay, I '11 not drink it, take away the cup ; 
And this day let none vex me with affairs, 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 343 

For I am ill and troubled in my thought. 

Go no, come hither ! these are my commands : 

Search thou the camp for choicest flesh and fruit, 

And spread to-night a feast in this same tent, 

And hang the place with fragrant-smelling boughs 

Or such wild flowers as hide in the ravine ; 

Then bid the Hebrew woman that she come 

To banquet with us. As thou lovest life, 

Bring her ! What matters, when the strong gods 

call, 
Whether they find a man at feast or prayer ? " 

Bagoas bowed him to his master's foot 
With hidden cynic smile, and went his way 
To spoil the camp of such poor food as was, 
And gather fragrant boughs to dress the tent, 
Sprigs of the clove and sprays of lavender ; 
And meeting Marah with her water jar 
At the brookside, delivered his lord's word. 
Then Judith sent him answer in this wise : 
" O what am I that should gainsay my lord ? " 
And Holofernes found the answer well. 
" Were this not so," he mused, " would not my name 
Be as a jest and gibe 'mong womankind ? 
Maidens would laugh behind their unloosed hair." 

" O Marah, see ! my lord keeps not his word. 
He is as those false jewellers who change 
Some rich stone for a poorer, when none looks. 



344 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Three days he promised, and not two are gone ! ' 
Thus Judith said, and smiled, but in her heart : 
" O save me, Lord, from this dark cruel prince, 
And from mine own self save me ; for this man, 
A worshipper of fire and senseless stone, 
Slayer of babes upon the mother's breast, 
He, even he, hath by some conjurer's trick, 
Or by his heathen beauty, in me stirred 
Such pity as stays anger's lifted hand. 
O let not my hand falter, in Thy name ! ' 
And thrice that day, by hazard left alone, 
Judith bowed down, upon the broidered mats 
Bowed down in shame and wretchedness, and 

prayed : 
" Since Thou hast sent the burden, send the 

strength ! 

O Thou who lovest Israel, give me strength 
And cunning such as never woman had, 
That my deceit may be his stripe and scar, 
My kiss his swift destruction. This for thee, 
My city, Bethulia, this for thee ! " ' 

Now the one star that ruled the night-time then, 
Against the deep blue-blackness of the sky 
Took shape, and shone ; and Judith at the door 
Of the pavilion waited for Bagoas ; 
She stood there lovelier than the night's one star. 
But Marah, looking on her, could have wept, 
For Marah's soul was troubled, knowing all 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 345 

That had been hidden from her till this hour. 
The deadly embassy that brought them there, 
And the dark moment's peril, now she knew. 
But Judith smiled, and whispered, " It is well ; ' 
And later, paling, whispered, " Fail me not ! ' 

Then came Bagoas, and led her to the tent 
Of Holofernes, and she entered in 
And knelt before him in the cressets' light 
Demurely like a slave-girl at the feet 
Of her new master, whom she fain would please, 
He having paid a helmetful of gold 
That day for her upon the market-place, 
And would have paid a hundred pieces more. 
So Judith knelt ; and the dark prince inclined 
Above her graciously, and bade her rise 
And sit with him on the spread leopard skin. 
Yet she would not, but rose, and let her scarf 
Drift to her feet, and stood withdrawn a space, 
Bright in her jewels ; and so stood, and seemed 
Like some rich idol that a general, 
Sacking a town, finds in a marble niche 
And sets among the pillage in his tent. 

" Nay, as thou wilt, O fair Samarian ! ' 
Thus Holofernes, " thou art empress here." 



" Not queen, not empress would I be, O prince," 
Judith gave answer, " only thy handmaid, 



346 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

And one not well content to share her charge." 
Then Judith came to his couch side, and said : 
" This night, O prince, no other slave than I 
Shall wait on thee with meat and fruit and wine, 
And bring the scented water for thy hands, 
And spread the silvered napkin on thy knee. 
So subtle am I, I shall know thy thought 
Before thou thinkest, and thy spoken word 
Ere thou canst speak it. Let Bagoas go 
This night among his people, save he fear 
To lose his place and wage, through some one 

else 
More trained and skilful showing his defect ! " 

Prince Holofernes smiled upon her mirth, 
Finding it pleasant. " O Bagoas," he cried, 
" Another hath usurped thee. Get thee gone, 
Son of the midnight ! But stray not from camp, 
Lest the lean tiger-whelps should break their fast, 
And thou forget I must be waked at dawn." 

So when Bagoas had gone into the night, 
Judith set forth the viands for the prince ; 
Upon a stand at the low couch's side 
Laid grapes and apricots, and poured the wine, 
And while he ate she held the jewelled cup, 
Nor failed to fill it to the silver's edge 
Each time he drank j and the red vintage seemed 
More rich to him because of her light hands 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 347 

And the gold bangle that slipped down her wrist. 
Now, in the compass of his thirty years 
In no one day had he so drank of wine. 

The opiate breath of the half-wilted flowers 
And the gray smoke that from the cressets curled 
Made the air dim and heavy in the tent ; 
And the prince drowsed, and through the curtained 

mist, 

As in his last night's vision, came and went 
The tall and regal figure : now he saw, 
Outlined against the light, a naked arm 
Bound near the shoulder by a hoop of gold, 
And now a sandal flashed, with jewels set. 
Through half-shut lids he watched her come and 

go, 
This Jewish queen that was somehow his slave ; 

And once he leaned to her, and felt her breath 

Upon his cheek like a perfumed air 

Blown from a far-off grove of cinnamon ; 

Then at the touch shrank back, but knew not why, 

Moved by some instinct deeper than his sense. 

At last all things lost sequence in his mind ; 

And in a dream he saw her take the lute 

And hold it to her bosom while she sang ; 

And in a dream he listened to the song 

A folklore legend of an ancient king, 

The first on earth that ever tasted wine, 

Who drank, and from him cast a life-long grief 



348 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

As 't were a faded mantle. Like a mist 
The music drifted from the silvery strings : 

" The small green grapes in heavy clusters grew, 
Feeding on mystic moonlight and white dew 
And amber sunshine, the long summer through ; 

" Till, with faint tremor in her veins, the Vine 
Felt the delicious pulses of the wine ; 
And the grapes ripened in the year's decline. 

"And day by day the Virgins watched their 

charge ; 

And when, at last, beyond the horizon's marge, 
The harvest-moon drooped beautiful and large, 

"The subtle spirit in the grape was caught, 
And to the slowly dying monarch brought 
In a great cup fantastically wrought. 

" Of this he drank ; then forthwith from his brain 
Went the weird malady, and once again 
He walked the palace, free of scar or pain 

" But strangely changed, for somehow he had 

lost 

Body and voice : the courtiers, as he crossed 
The royal chambers, whispered The King's 
ghost!" 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 349 

The ceasing of the music broke the drowse, 
Half broke the drowse, of the dazed prince, who 

cried : 

" Give me the drink ! and thou, take thou the cup ! 
Fair Judith, 't is a medicine that cures ; 
Grief will it cure and every ill, save love," 
And as he spoke, he stooped to kiss the hand 
That held the chalice ; but the cressets swam 
In front of him, and all within the tent 
Grew strange and blurred, and from the place he sat 
He sank, and fell upon the camel-skins, 
Supine, inert, bound fast in bands of wine. 

And Judith looked on him, and pity crept 
Into her bosom. The ignoble sleep 
Robbed not his pallid brow of majesty 
Nor from the curved lip took away the scorn ; 
These rested still. Like some Chaldean god 
Thrown from its fane, he lay there at her feet. 
O broken sword of proof ! O prince betrayed ! 
Her he had trusted, he who trusted none. 
The sharp thought pierced her, and her breast was 

torn, 

And half she longed to bid her purpose die, 
To stay, to weep, to kneel down at his side 
And let her long hair trail upon his face. 

Then Judith dared not look upon him more, 
Lest she should lose her reason through her eyes ; 



350 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

And with her palms she covered up her eyes 

To shut him out ; but from that subtler sight 

Within, she could not shut him, and so stood. 

Then suddenly there fell upon her ear 

The moan of children gathered in the streets, 

And throngs of famished women swept her by, 

Wringing their wasted hands, and all the woes 

Of the doomed city pleaded at her heart. 

As if she were within the very walls 

These things she heard and saw. With hurried 

breath 

Judith blew out the lights, all lights save one, 
And from its nail the heavy falchion took, 
And with both hands tight clasped upon the hilt 
Thrice smote the Prince of Asshur as he lay, 
Thrice on his neck she smote him as he lay, 
Then from her flung the cruel curved blade 
That in the air an instant flashed, and fell. 

Outside stood Marah, waiting, as was planned, 
And Judith whispered : "It is done. Do thou!" 
Then Marah turned, and went into the tent, 
And pulled the hangings down about the corse, 
And in her mantle wrapped the brazen head, 
And brought it with her. Somewhere a huge gong 
With sullen throbs proclaimed the midnight hour 
As the two women passed the silent guard ; 
With measured footstep passed, as if to prayer. 
But on the camp's lone edge fear gave them wing, 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 351 

And glancing not behind, they fled like wraiths 
Through the hushed night into the solemn woods, 
Where, from gnarled roots and palsied trees, black 

shapes 

Rose up, and seemed to follow them ; and once 
Some creature startled in the underbrush 
Made cry, and froze the blood about their hearts. 
Across the plain, with backward-streaming hair 
And death-white face, they fled, until at last 
They reached the rocky steep upon whose crest 
The gray walls loomed through vapor. This they 

clomb, 

Wild with the pregnant horrors of the night, 
And flung themselves against the city gates. 

Hushed as the grave lay all the Asshur camp, 
Bound in that sleep which seals the eyes at dawn 
With double seals, when from the outer waste 
An Arab scout rushed on the morning watch 
With a strange story of a head that hung, 
Newly impaled there, on the city wall. 
He had crept close upon it through the fog, 
And seen it plainly, set on a long lance 
Over the gate- -a face with snake-like curls, 
That seemed a countenance that he had known 
Somewhere, sometime, and now he knew it not, 
To give it name ; but him it straightway knew, 
And turned, and stared with dumb recognizance 
Till it was not in mortal man to stay 



352 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

Confronting those dead orbs that mimicked life. 
On this he fled, and he could swear the thing, 
Disjoined by magic from the lance's point, 
Came rolling through the stubble at his heel. 
Thus ran the Arab's tale ; and some that heard 
Laughed at the man, and muttered : " O them 

fool ! " 

Others were troubled, and withdrew apart 
Upon a knoll that overlooked the town, 
Which now loomed dimly out of the thick haze. 

Bagoas passing, caught the Arab's words, 
Halted a moment, and then hurried on, 
Alert to bear these tidings to his lord, 
Whom he was bid to waken at that hour ; 
Last night his lord so bade him. At the tent, 
Which stood alone in a small plot of ground, 
Bagoas paused, and called : " My lord, awake 1 
I come to wake thee as thou badest me." 
But only silence answered ; and again 
He called : " My lord, sleep not ! the dawn is here, 
And stranger matter ! ' Still no answer came. 
Then black Bagoas, smiling in his beard 
To think in what soft chains his master lay r 
Love's captive, drew the leather screen aside 
And marvelled, finding no one in the tent 
Save Holofernes buried at full length 
In the torn canopy. Bagoas stooped,. 



JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 353 

And softly lifting up the damask cloth 
Beheld the Prince of Asshur lying dead. 

As in some breathless wilderness at night 
A leopard, pinioned by a falling tree 
That takes him unaware curled up in sleep, 
Shrieks, and the ghostly echo in her cave 
Mimics the cry in every awful key 
And sends it flying through her solitudes : 
So shrieked Bagoas, so his cry was caught 
And voiced from camp to camp, from peak to peak. 
Then a great silence fell upon the camps, 
And all the people stood like blocks of stone 
In a deserted quarry ; then a voice 
Blown through a trumpet clamored : He is dead ! 
The Prince is dead ! The Hebrew witch hath slain 
Prince Holof ernes ! Fly, Assyrians, fly ! 

Upon the sounding of that baleful voice 
A panic seized the silent multitude. 
In white dismay from their strong mountain-hold 
They broke, and fled. As when the high snows 

melt, 

And down the steep hill-flanks in torrents flow, 
Not in one flood, but in a hundred streams : 
So to the four winds spread the Asshur hosts, 
Leaving their camels tethered at the stake, 
Their brave tents standing, and their scattered 

arms. 



354 JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES 

As the pent whirlwind, breaking from its leash, 

Seizes upon the yellow desert sand 

And hurls it in dark masses, cloud on cloud, 

So from the gates of the embattled town 

Leapt armed men upon the flying foe, 

And hemmed them in, now on a river's marge, 

Now on the brink of some sheer precipice, 

Now in the fens, and pierced them with their spears. 

Six days, six nights, at point of those red spears 

The cohorts fled ; then such as knew not death 

Found safety in Damascus, or beyond 

Sought refuge, harried only by their fears. 

Thus through God's grace, that nerved a gentle 

hand 

Not shaped to wield the deadly blade of war, 
The tombs and temples of Judea were saved. 
And love and honor waited from that hour 
Upon the steps of Judith. And the years 
Came to her lightly, dwelling in her house 
In her own city ; lightly came the years, 
Touching the raven tresses with their snow. 
Many desired her, but she put them by 
With sweet denial : where Manasseh slept 
In his strait sepulchre, there slept her heart. 
And there beside him, in the barley-field 
Nigh unto Dothaim, they buried her. 



INTERLUDES 



PRESCIENCE 

THE new moon hung in the sky, 
The sun was low in the west, 
And my betrothed and I 

In the churchyard paused to rest 
Happy maiden and lover, 
Dreaming the old dream over : 

O 

The light winds wandered by, 

And robins chirped from the nest. 

And lo ! in the meadow-sweet 

Was the grave of a little child, 
With a crumbling stone at the feet, 
And the ivy running wild 
Tangled ivy and clover 
Folding it over and over : 
Close to my sweetheart's feet 
Was the little mound up-piled. 

Stricken with nameless fears, 
She shrank and clung to me, 

355 



356 INTERLUDES 

And her eyes were filled with tears 
For a sorrow I did not see : 

Lightly the winds were blowing, 
Softly her tears were flowing 
Tears for the unknown years 
And a sorrow that was to be ! 



MEMORY 

MY mind lets go a thousand things, 
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings, 
And yet recalls the very hour 
'Twas noon by yonder village tower, 
And on the last blue noon in May 
The wind came briskly up this way, 
Crisping the brook beside the road ; 
Then, pausing here, set down its load 
Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly 
Two petals from that wild-rose tree. 



A MOOD 

A BLIGHT, a gloom, I know not what, has crept 

upon my gladness 
Some vague, remote ancestral touch of sorrow or 

of madness ; 



INTERLUDES 357 

A fear that is not fear, a pain that has not pain's 
insistence ; 

A sense of longing, or of loss, in some foregone 
existence ; 

A subtle hurt that never pen has writ nor tongue 
has spoken 

Such hurt perchance as Nature feels when a blos- 
somed bough is broken. 



ACT V 

[Midnight] 

FIRST, two white arms that held him very close, 

And ever closer as he drew him back 

Reluctantly, the unbound golden hair 

A thousand delicate fibres reaching out 

Still to detain him ; then some twenty steps 

Of iron staircase winding round and down, 

And. ending in a narrow gallery hung 

With Gobelin tapestries Andromeda 

Rescued by Perseus, and the sleek Diana 

With her nymphs bathing ; at the farther end 

A door that gave upon a starlit grove 

Of citron and dwarf cypress ; then a path 

As bleached as moonlight, with the shadow of leaves 



358 INTERLUDES 



Stamped black upon it ; next a vine-clad length 
Of solid masonry ; and last of all 
A Gothic archway packed with night, and then- 
A sudden gleaming dagger through his heart. 



GUILIELMUS REX 

THE folk who lived in Shakespeare's day 
And saw that gentle figure pass 
By London Bridge, his frequent way 
They little knew what man he was. 

The pointed beard, the courteous mien, 
The equal port to high and low, 
All this they saw or might have seen 
But not the light behind the brow 1 

The doublet's modest gray or brown. 
The slender sword-hilt's plain device, 
What sign had these for prince or clown ? 
Few turned, or none, to scan him twice. 

Yet 't was the king of England's kings ! 
The rest with all their pomps and trains 
Are mouldered, half-remembered things 
J T is he alone that lives and reigns 1 



INTERLUDES 359 

A DEDICATION 

TAKE these rhymes into thy grace, 
Since they are of thy begetting, 

Lady, that dost make each place 
Where thou art a jewel's setting. 

Some such glamour lend this Book : 

Let it be thy poet's wages 
That henceforth thy gracious look 

Lies reflected on its pages. 



"PILLARED ARCH AND SCULPTURED 

TOWER " 

PILLARED arch and sculptured tower 
Of Ilium have had their hour ; 
The dust of many a king is blown 
On the winds from zone to zone ; 
Many a warrior sleeps unknown. 
Time and Death hold each in thrall, 
Yet is Love the lord of all ; 
Still does Helen's beauty stir 
Because a poet sang of her ! 



360 INTERLUDES 

THRENODY 

H. H. B. 



UPON your hearse this flower I lay. 
Brief be your sleep ! You shall be known 
When lesser men have had their day ; 
Fame blossoms where true seed is sown, 
Or soon or late, let Time wrong what it may. 



ii 

Unvexed by any dream of fame, 

You smiled, and bade the world pass by ; 

But I I turned, and saw a name 

Shaping itself against the sky 

White star that rose amid the battle's flame ! 



in 

Brief be your sleep, for I would see 
Your laurels ah, how trivial now 
To him must earthly laurel be 
Who wears the amaranth on his brow ! 
How vain the voices of mortality ! 



INTERLUDES 361 

SESTET 

(Sent to a friend with a volume of Tennyson) 

WOULDST know the clash of knightly steel on steel ? 

Or list the throstle singing loud and clear ? 

Or walk at twilight by some haunted mere 

In Surrey ; or in throbbing London feel 

Life's pulse at highest hark, the minster's 

peal ! . . . 
Turn but the page, that various world is here ! 



NECROMANCY 

THROUGH a chance fissure of the churchyard wall 
A creeping vine puts forth a single spray, 
At whose slim end a starry blossom droops 
Full to the soft vermilion of a rose 
That reaches up on tiptoe for the kiss. 
Not them the wren disturbs, nor the loud bee 
That buzzes homeward with his load of sweets ; 
And thus they linger, flowery lip to lip, 
Heedless of all, in rapturous mute embrace. 
Some necromancy here ! These two, I think, 
Were once unhappy lovers upon earth. 



362 INTERLUDES 

FOREVER AND A DAY 

SONG 



I LITTLE know or care 

If the blackbird on the bough 

Is filling all the air 

With his soft crescendo now ; 
For she is gone away, 
And when she went she took 
The springtime in her look, 
The peachblow on her cheek, 
The laughter from the brook, 
The blue from out the May 
And what she calls a week 
Is forever and a day ! 



ii 

It 's little that I mind 

How the blossoms, pink or white, 

At every touch of wind 

Fall a-trembling with delight ; 
For in the leafy lane, 
Beneath the garden-boughs, 
And through the silent house 
One thing alone I seek. 



INTERLUDES 3 6 3 

Until she come again 
The May is not the May, 
And what she calls a' week 
Is forever and a day ! 

A TOUCH OF NATURE 

WHEN first the crocus thrusts its point of gold 
Up through the still snow-drifted garden mould, 
And folded green things in dim woods unclose 
Their crinkled spears, a sudden tremor goes 
Into my veins and makes me kith and kin 
To every wild-born thing that thrills and blows. 
Sitting beside this crumbling sea-coal fire, 
Here in the city's ceaseless roar and din, 
Far from the brambly paths I used to know, 
Far from the rustling brooks that slip and shine 
Where the Neponset alders take their glow, 
I share the tremulous sense of bud and brier 
And inarticulate ardors of the vine. 



"I'LL NOT CONFER WITH SORROW' 

I 'LL not confer with Sorrow 

Till to-morrow ; 
But Joy shall have her way 

This very day. 



364 INTERLUDES 

Ho, eglantine and cresses 

For her tresses ! 
Let Care, the beggar, wait 

Outside the gate. 


Tears if you will but after 
Mirth and laughter ; 

Then, folded hands on breast 
And endless rest. 



IN THE BELFRY OF THE NIEUWE KERK 

(AMSTERDAM) 

NOT a breath in the stifled, dingy street ! 

On the Stadhuis tiles the sun's deep glow 

Lies like a kind of golden snow ; 

In the square one almost sees the heat. 

The mottled tulips over there 

By the open casement pant for air. 

Grave, portly burghers, with their vrouws, 

Go hat in hand to cool their brows. 

But high in the fretted steeple, where 
The sudden chimes burst forth and scare 
The lazy rooks from the belfry rail, 
Up here, behold ! there blows a gale 



INTERLUDES 365 

Such a wind as bends the forest tree, 
And rocks the great ships out at sea ! 

Plain simple folk, who come and go 
On humble levels of life below, 
Little dream of the gales that smite 
Mortals dwelling upon the height. 



NO SONGS IN WINTER 

THE sky is gray as gray may be, 
There is no bird upon the bough, 
There is no leaf on vine or tree. 

In the Neponset marshes now 
Willow-stems, rosy in the wind, 
Shiver with hidden sense of snow. 

So too 't is winter in my mind, 

No light-winged fancy comes and stays : 

A season churlish and unkind. 

Slow creep the hours, slow creep the days, 
The black ink crusts upon the pen 
Wait till the bluebirds and the jays 
And golden orioles come again ! 



366 INTERLUDES 

A PARABLE 

ONE went East, and one went West 
Across the wild sea-foam, 

And both were on the self-same quest. 

Now one there was who cared for naught, 
So stayed at home : 

Yet of the three 't was only he 

Who reached the goal by him unsought. 



INSOMNIA 

SLUMBER, hasten down this way, 
And, ere midnight dies, 

Silence lay upon my lips, 
Darkness on my eyes. 

Send me a fantastic dream ; 

Fashion me afresh ; 
Into some celestial thing 

Change this mortal flesh. 

Well I know one may not choose ; 

One is helpless still 
In the purple realm of Sleep : 

Use me as you will. 



INTERLUDES 

Let me be a frozen pine 
In dead glacier lands ; 

Let me pant, a leopard stretched 
On the Libyan sands. 

Silver fin or scarlet wing 
Grant me, either one ; 

Sink me deep in emerald glooms, 
Lift me to the sun. 

Or of me a gargoyle make, 
Face of ape or gnome, 

Such as frights the tavern-boor 
Reeling drunken home. 

Work on me your own caprice, 

Give me any shape ; 
Only, Slumber, from myself 

Let myself escape ! 



SEEMING DEFEAT 

THE woodland silence, one time stirred 
By the soft pathos of some passing bird, 

Is not the same it was before. 
The spot where once, unseen, a flower 



3 68 INTERLUDES 

Has held its fragile chalice to the shower, 
Is different for evermore. 
Unheard, unseen 
A spell has been ! 

O thou that breathest year by year 
Music that falls unheeded on the ear, 

Take heart, fate has not baffled thee ! 
Thou that with tints of earth and skies 
Fillest thy canvas for unseeing eyes, 
Thou hast not labored futilely. 
Unheard, unseen 
A spell has been ! 



"LIKE CRUSOE, WALKING BY THE 
LONELY STRAND" 

LIKE Crusoe, walking by the lonely strand 
And seeing a human footprint on the sand, 
Have I this day been startled, finding here, 
Set in brown mould and delicately clear. 
Spring's footprint the first crocus of the year ! 
O sweet invasion ! Farewell solitude ! 
Soon shall wild creatures of the field and wood 
Flock from all sides with much ado and stir, 
And make of me most willing prisoner ! 



INTERLUDES 369 

KNOWLEDGE 

KNOWLEDGE who hath it? Nay, not thou, 
Pale student, pondering thy futile lore ! 
After a space it shall be thine, as now 
'T is his whose funeral passes at thy door. 
Couldst thou but see with those deep-sealed eyes, 
What lore were thine ! The Dead alone are wise. 



THE LETTER 

EDWARD ROWLAND SILL, DIED FEBRUARY 27, 1887 

I HELD his letter in my hand, 

And even while I read 
The lightning flashed across the land 

The word that he was dead. 

How strange it seemed ! His living voice 

Was speaking from the page 
Those courteous phrases, tersely choice, 

Light-hearted, witty, sage. 

I wondered what it was that died ! 
The man himself was here, 



370 INTERLUDES 

His modesty, his scholar's pride, 
His soul serene and clear. 



These neither death nor time shall dim, 
Still this sad thing must be 

Henceforth I may not speak to him, 
Though he can speak to me ! 



"IN YOUTH, BESIDE THE LONELY SEA" 

IN youth, beside the lonely sea, 
Voices and visions came to me. 

Titania and her furtive broods 
Were my familiars in the woods. 

From every flower that broke in flame 
Some half-articulate whisper came. 

In every wind I felt the stir 
Of some celestial messenger. 

Later, amid the city's din 

And toil and wealth and want and sin, 

They followed me from street to street, 
The dreams that made my boyhood sweet. 



INTERLUDES 371 

As in the silence-haunted glen, 
So, mid the crowded ways of men, 

Strange lights my errant fancy led, 
Strange watchers watched beside my bed. 

Ill fortune had no shafts for me 
In this aerial company. 

Now one by one the visions fly, 
And one by one the voices die ; 

More distantly the accents ring, 
More frequent the receding wing. 

Full dark shall be the days in store, 
When voice and vision come no more ! 



"GREAT CAPTAIN, GLORIOUS IN OUR 

WARS " 

GREAT Captain, glorious in our wars 
No meed of praise we hold from him ; 
About his brow we wreathe the stars 
The coming ages shall not dim, 



372 INTERLUDES 

The cloud-sent man ! Was it not he 
That from the hand of adverse fate 
Snatched the white flower of victory ? 
He spoke no word, but saved the State, 

Yet History, as she brooding bends 
Above the tablet on her knee, 
The impartial stylus half suspends, 
And fain would blot the cold decree : 

"The iron hand and sleepless care 
That stayed disaster scarce availed 
To serve him when he came to wear 
The civic laurel : there he failed." 

Who runs may read ; but nothing mars 
That nobler record unforgot. 
Great Captain, glorious in our wars 
All else the heart remembers not. 



THE WINTER ROBIN 

Sursum corda 

Now is that sad time of year 
When no flower or leaf is here ; 
When in misty Southern ways 



INTERLUDES 373 

Oriole and jay have flown, 
And of all sweet birds, alone 
The robin stays. 

So give thanks at Christmas-tide ; 
Hopes of springtime yet abide ! 
See, in spite of darksome days, 
Wind and rain and bitter chill, 
Snow, and sleet-hung branches, still 
The robin stays ! 



A REFRAIN 

HIGH in a tower she sings, 

I, passing by beneath, 
Pause and listen, and catch 

These words of passionate breath 
"Asphodel^ flower of Life; amaranth, flower of 
Death ! " 

Sweet voice, sweet unto tears ! 
What is this that she saith ? 
Poignant, mystical hark ! 

Again with passionate breath 
"Asphodel, flower of Life; amaranth, flower of 
Death ! " 



374 INTERLUDES 

THE VOICE OF THE SEA 

IN the hush of the autumn night 
I hear the voice of the sea, 
In the hush of the autumn night 
It seems to say to me 
Mine are the winds above, 
Mine are the caves below, 
Mine are the dead of yesterday 
And the dead of long ago ! 

And I think of the fleet that sailed 
From the lovely Gloucester shore, 
I think of the fleet that sailed 
And came back nevermore ; 
My eyes are filled with tears, 
And my heart is numb with woe 
It seems as if 't were yesterday, 
And it all was long ago ! 



ART 

"LET art be all in all," one time I said, 
And straightway stirred the hypercritic gall. 
I said not, " Let technique be all in all," 
But art a wider meaning. Worthless, dead 



INTERLUDES 375 

The shell without its pearl, the corpse of things 
Mere words are, till the spirit lend them wings. 
The poet who wakes no soul within his lute 
Falls short of art : 't were better he were mute. 

The workmanship wherewith the gold is wrought 

Adds yet a richness to the richest gold ; 

Who lacks the art to shape his thought, I hold, 

Were little poorer if he lacked the thought. 

The statue's slumber were unbroken still 

In the dull marble, had the hand no skill. 

Disparage not the magic touch that gives 

The formless thought the grace whereby it lives ! 



IMOGEN 

LEONATUS POSTHUMUS Speaks '. 

SORROW, make a verse for me 

That shall breathe all human grieving ; 
Let it be love's exequy, 

And the knell of all believing ! 

Let it such sweet pathos have 

As a violet on a grave, 

Or a dove's moan when his mate 
Leaves the new nest desolate. 

Sorrow, Sorrow, by this token, 
Braid a wreath for Beauty's head. . . . 



376 INTERLUDES 

Valley-lilies, one or two, 
Should be woven with the rue. 
Sorrow, Sorrow, all is spoken 
She is dead ! 



A BRIDAL MEASURE 

FOR S. F. 

GIFTS they sent her manifold, 
Diamonds and pearls and gold. 
One there was among the throng 
Had not Midas' 1 touch at need : 
He against a sylvan reed 
Set his lips and breathed a song. 

Bid bright Flora, as she comes, 
Snatch a spray of orange blooms 
For a maiden's hair. 

Let the Hours their aprons fill 
With mignonette and daffodil, 
And all that 's fair. 

For her bosom fetch the rose 

That is rarest 
Not that either these or those 
Could by any fortune be 



INTERLUDES 377 

Ornaments to such as she ; 
They '11 but show, when she is dressed, 

She is fairer than the fairest 
And out-betters what is best ! 



CRADLE SONG 



ERE the moon begins to rise 

Or a star to shine, 
All the bluebells close their eyes 

So close thine, 

Thine, dear, thine ! 

n 

Birds are sleeping in the nest 
On the swaying bough, 

Thus, against the mother-breast - 
So sleep thou, 

Sleep, sleep, thou ! 



SANTO DOMINGO 

AFTER long days of angry sea and sky, 
The magic isle rose up from out the blue 



INTERLUDES 

Like a mirage, vague, dimly seen at first, 

At first seen dimly through the mist, and then 

Groves of acacia ; slender leaning stems 

Of palm-trees weighted with their starry fronds ; 

Airs that, at dawn, had from their slumber risen 

In bowers of spices ; between shelving banks, 

A river through whose limpid crystal gleamed, 

Four fathoms down, the silvery, rippled sand ; 

Upon the bluff a square red tower, and roofs 

Of cocoa-fibre lost among the boughs ; 

Hard by, a fort with crumbled parapet. 

These took the fancy captive ere we reached 

The longed-for shores ; then swiftly in our thought 

We left behind us the New World, and trod 

The Old, and in a sudden vision saw 

Columbus wandering from court to court, 

A mendicant, with kingdoms in his hands. 



AT A GRAVE 

VALOR, love, undoubting trust, 
Patience, and fidelity 
Lie beneath this carven stone. 
If the end of these be dust, 
And their doom oblivion, 
Then is life a mockery. 



INTERLUDES 379 



A PETITION 

To spring belongs the violet, and the blown 
Spice of the roses let the summer own. 
Grant me this favor, Muse all else withhold 
That I may not write verse when I am old. 

And yet I pray you, Muse, delay the time ! 

Be not too ready to deny me rhyme ; 

And when the hour strikes, as it must, dear Muse, 

I beg you very gently break the news. 



XXVIII SONNETS 



INVITA MINERVA 

NOT of desire alone is music born, 
Not till the Muse wills is our passion crowned ; 
Unsought she comes ; if sought, but seldom found, 
Repaying thus our longing with her scorn. 
Hence is it poets often are forlorn, 
In super-subtle chains of silence bound. 
And mid the crowds that compass them around 
Still dwell in isolation night and morn, 
With knitted brow and cheek all passion-pale 
Showing the baffled purpose of the mind. 
Hence is it I, that find no prayers avail 
To move my Lyric Mistress to be kind, 
Have stolen away into this leafy dale 
Drawn by the flutings of the silvery wind. 

381 



382 XXVIII SONNETS 



II 

FREDERICKSBURG 

THE increasing moonlight drifts across my bed, 
And on the churchyard by the road, I know 
It falls as white and noiselessly as snow. . . . 
'T was such a night two weary summers fled ; 
The stars, as now, were waning overhead. 
Listen ! Again the shrill-lipped bugles blow 
Where the swift currents of the river flow 
Past Fredericksburg ; far off the heavens are red 
With sudden conflagration ; on yon height, 
Linstock in hand, the gunners hold their breath ; 
A signal rocket pierces the dense night, 
Flings its spent stars upon the town beneath : 
Hark ! the artillery massing on the right, 
Hark ! the black squadrons wheeling down to 
Death ! 



XXVIII SONNETS 3^3 



ill 

BY THE POTOMAC 

THE soft new grass is creeping o'er the graves 
By the Potomac ; and the crisp ground-flower 
Tilts its blue cup to catch the passing shower ; 
The pine-cone ripens, and the long moss waves 
Its tangled gonfalons above our braves. 
Hark, what a burst of music from yon bower ! 
The Southern nightingale that hour by hour 
In its melodious summer madness raves. 
Ah, with what delicate touches of her hand, 
With what sweet voice of bird and rivulet 
And drowsy murmur of the rustling leaf 
Would Nature soothe us, bidding us forget 
The awful crime of this distracted land 
And all our heavy heritage of grief. 



384 XXVIII SONNETS 



IV 

PURSUIT AND POSSESSION 

WHEN I behold what pleasure is pursuit, 
What life, what glorious eagerness it is ; 
Then mark how full possession falls from this, 
How fairer seems the blossom than the fruit 
I am perplexed, and often stricken mute 
Wondering which attained the higher bliss, 
The winged insect, or the chrysalis 
It thrust aside with unreluctant foot 
Spirit of verse, that still elud'st my art, 
Thou uncaught rapture, thou swift-fleeting fire, 
O let me follow thee with hungry heart 
If beauty's full possession kill desire ! 
Still flit away in moonlight, rain, and dew, 
Will-of-the-wisp, that I may still pursue ! 



XXVIII SONNETS 385 



MIRACLES 

SICK of myself and all that keeps the light 
Of the wide heavens away from me and mine, 
I climb this ledge, and by this wind-swept pine 
Lingering, watch the coming of the night : 
'Tis ever a new wonder to my sight. 
Men look to God for some mysterious sign, 
For other stars than such as nightly shine, 
For some unwonted symbol of His might. 
Wouldst see a miracle not less than those 
The Master wrought of old in Galilee ? 
Come watch with me the azure turn to rose 
In yonder West, the changing pageantry, 
The fading alps and archipelagoes, 
And spectral cities of the sunset-sea. 



386 XXVIII SONNETS 



VI 



"ENAMORED ARCHITECT OF AIRY 

RHYME" 

ENAMORED architect of airy rhyme, 

Build as thou wilt, heed not what each man says : 

Good souls, but innocent of dreamers' ways, 

Will come, and marvel why thou wastest time ; 

Others, beholding how thy turrets climb 

'Twixt theirs and heaven, will hate thee all thy 

days ; 

But most beware of those who come to praise. 
O Wondersmith, O worker in sublime 
And heaven-sent dreams, let art be all in all ; 
Build as thou wilt, unspoiled by praise or blame, 
Build as thou wilt, and as thy light is given j 
Then, if at last the airy structure fall, 
Dissolve, and vanish take thyself no shame. 
They fail, and they alone, who have not striven. 



XXVIII SONNETS 



VII 

EIDOLONS 

THOSE forms we fancy shadows, those strange lights 

That flash on lone morasses, the quick wind 

That smites us by the roadside are the Night's 

Innumerable children. Unconfined 

By shroud or coffin, disembodied souls, 

Still on probation, steal into air 

From ancient battlefields and churchyard knolls 

At the day's ending. Pestilence and despair 

Fly with the startled bats at set of sun ; 

And wheresoever murders have been done, 

In crowded palaces or lonely woods, 

Where'er a soul has sold itself and lost 

Its high inheritance, there, hovering, broods 

Some mute, invisible, accursed ghost. 



388 XXVIII SONNETS 



VIII 



AT BAY RIDGE, LONG ISLAND 

PLEASANT it is to lie amid the grass 

Under these shady locusts, half the day, 

Watching the ships reflected on the Bay, 

Topmast and shroud, as in a wizard's glass ; 

To note the swift and meagre swallow pass, 

Brushing the dewdrops from the lilac spray ; 

Or else to sit and while the noon away 

With some old love-tale ; or to muse, alas ! 

On Dante in his exile, sorrow-worn ; 

On Milton, blind, with inward-seeing eyes 

That made their own deep midnight and rich morn 

To think that now, beneath the Italian skies, 

In such clear air as this, by Tiber's wave, 

Daisies are trembling over Keats's grave. 



XXVIII SONNETS 389 



IX 



"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY" 

TOUCHED with the delicate green of early May, 

Or later, when the rose uplifts her face, 

The world hangs glittering in starry space, 

Fresh as a jewel found but yesterday. 

And yet 't is very old ; what tongue may say 

How old it is ? Race follows upon race, 

Forgetting and forgotten ; in their place 

Sink tower and temple ; nothing long may stay. 

We build on tombs, and live our day, and die ; 

From out our dust new towers and temples start 

Our very name becomes a mystery. 

What cities no man ever heard of lie 

Under the glacier, in the mountain's heart, 

In violet glooms beneath the moaning sea ! 



390 XXVIII SONNETS 



EGYPT 

FANTASTIC sleep is busy with my eyes : 

I seem in some waste solitude to stand 

Once ruled of Cheops ; upon either hand 

A dark illimitable desert lies, 

Sultry and still a zone of mysteries. 

A wide-browed Sphinx, half buried in the sand, 

With orbless sockets stares across the land, 

The wofulest thing beneath these brooding skies 

Save that loose heap of bleached bones, that lie 

Where haply some poor Bedouin crawled to die. 

Lo ! while I gaze, beyond the vast sand-sea 

The nebulous clouds are downward slowly drawn, 

And one bleared star, faint glimmering like a bee, 

Is shut in the rosy outstretched hand of Dawn. 




"EGYPT." PagelWO. 



XXVIII SONNETS 391 



XI 

AT STRATFORD-UPON-AVON 

THUS spake his dust (so seemed it as I read 
The words) : Good f rend, for Jesvs* sake forbeare 
(Poor ghost !) To digg the dvst endoased heare 
Then came the malediction on the head 
Of whoso dare disturb the sacred dead. 
Outside the mavis whistled strong and clear, 
And, touched with the sweet glamour of the year, 
The winding Avon murmured in its bed. 
But in the solemn Stratford church the air 
Was chill and dank, and on the foot-worn tomb 
The evening shadows deepened momently. 
Then a great awe fell on me, standing there, 
As if some speechless presence in the gloom 
Was hovering, and fain would speak with me. 



392 XXVIII SONNETS 



xn 

WITH THREE FLOWERS 

HEREWITH I send you three pressed withered 

flowers : 

This one was white, with golden star ; this, blue 
As Capri's cave ; that, purple and shot through 
With sunset-orange. Where the Duomo towers 
In diamond air, and under pendent bovvers 
The Arno glides, this faded violet grew 
On Landor's grave ; from Lander's heart it drew 
Its clouded azure in the long spring hours. 
Within the shadow of the Pyramid 
Of Caius Cestius was the daisy found, 
White as the soul of Keats in Paradise. 
The pansy there were hundreds of them hid 
In the thick grass that folded Shelley's mound, 
Guarding his ashes with most lovely eyes. 



XXVIII SONNETS 393 



XIII 



THE LORELEI 

YONDER we see it from the steamer's deck, 
The haunted Mountain of the Lorelei 
The hanging crags sharp-cut against a sky 
Clear as a sapphire without flaw or fleck. 
'T was here the Siren lay in wait to wreck 
The fisher-lad. At dusk, as he rowed by, 
Perchance he heard her tender amorous cry, 
And, seeing the wondrous whiteness of her neck, 
Perchance would halt, and lean towards the shore 
Then she by that soft magic which she had 
Would lure him, and in gossamers of her hair, 
Gold upon gold, would wrap him o'er and o'er, 
Wrap him, and sing to him, and drive him mad, 
Then drag him down to no man knoweth where. 



394 XXVIII SONNETS 



XIV 

SLEEP 

WHEN to soft sleep we give ourselves away, 

And in a dream as in a fairy bark 

Drift on and on through the enchanted dark 

To purple daybreak little thought we pay 

To that sweet bitter world we know by day. 

We are clean quit of it, as is a lark 

So high in heaven no human eye can mark 

The thin swift pinion cleaving through the gray. 

Till we awake ill fate can do no ill, 

The resting heart shall not take up again 

The heavy load that yet must make it bleed ; 

For this brief space the loud world's voice is still, 

No faintest echo of it brings us pain. 

How will it be when we shall sleep indeed ? 



XXVIII SONNETS 395 



XV 
THORWALDSEN 

NOT in the fabled influence of some star, 

Benign or evil, do our fortunes lie ; 

We are the arbiters of destiny, 

Lords of the life we either make or mar. 

We are our own impediment and bar 

To noble endings. With distracted eye 

We let the golden moment pass us by, 

Time's foolish spendthrifts, searching wide and far 

For what lies close at hand. To serve our turn 

We ask fair wind and favorable tide. 

From the dead Danish sculptor let us learn 

To make Occasion, not to be denied : 

Against the sheer precipitous mountain-side 

Thorwaldsen carved his Lion at Lucerne. 



396 XXVIII SONNETS 



XVI 



AN ALPINE PICTURE 

STAND here and look, and softly draw your breath 
Lest the dread avalanche come crashing down ! 
How many leagues away is yonder town 
Set flower-wise in the valley ? Far beneath 
Our feet lies summer ; here a realm of death, 
Where never flower has blossomed nor bird flown. 
The ancient water-courses are all strown 
With drifts of snow, fantastic wreath on wreath ; 
And peak on peak against the stainless blue 
The Alps like towering campanili stand, 
Wondrous, with pinnacles of frozen rain, 
Silvery, crystal, like the prism in hue. 
O tell me, love, if this be Switzerland 
Or is it but the frost-work on the pane ? 



XXVIII SONNETS 397 



XVII 

TO L. T. IN FLORENCE 

You by the Arno shape your marble dream, 
Under the cypress and the olive trees, 
While I, this side the wild wind-beaten seas, 
Unrestful by the Charles's placid stream, 
Long once again to catch the golden gleam 
Of Brunelleschi's dome, and lounge at ease 
In those pleached gardens and fair galleries. 
And yet perchance you envy me, and deem 
My star the happier, since it holds me here. 
Even so one time, beneath the cypresses, 
My heart turned longingly across the sea 
To these familiar fields and woodlands dear, 
And I had given all Titian's goddesses 
For one poor cowslip or anemone. 



398 XXVIII SONNETS 



XVIII 

HENRY HOWARD BROWNELL 

THEY never crowned him, never dreamed his worth, 
And let him go unlaurelled to the grave : 
Hereafter there are guerdons for the brave, 
Roses for martyrs who wear thorns on earth, 
Balms for bruised hearts that languish in the dearth 
Of human love. So let the grasses wave 
Above him nameless. Little did he crave 
Men's praises ; modestly, with kindly mirth, 
Not sad nor bitter, he accepted fate 
Drank deep of life, knew books, and hearts of men, 
Cities and camps, and war's immortal woe, 
Yet bore through all (such virtue in him sate 
His spirit is not whiter now than then) 
A simple, loyal nature, pure as snow. 



XXVIII SONNETS 399 



XIX 

THE RARITY OF GENIUS 

WHILE yet my lip was breathing youth's first breath, 

I all too young to know their deepest spell, 

I saw Medea and Phaedra in Rachel ; 

Later I saw the great Elizabeth. 

Rachel, Ristori we shall speak with death 

Ere we meet souls like these. In one age dwell 

Not many such : a century shall tell 

Its hundred beads before it braid a wreath 

For two so queenly foreheads. If it take 

to form a diamond, grain on grain, 

to crystallize its fire and dew, 
By what slow processes must Nature make 
Her Shakespeares and her Raffaels? Great the 

gain 
If she spoil millions making one or two. 



400 XXVIII SONNETS 



xx 



BOOKS AND SEASONS 

BECAUSE the sky is blue ; because blithe May 
Masks in the wren's note and the lilac's hue ; 
Because in fine, because the sky is blue 
I will read none but piteous tales to-day. 
Keep happy laughter till the skies be gray, 
And the sad season cypress wears, and rue ; 
Then, when the wind is moaning in the flue, 
And ways are dark, bid Chaucer make us gay. 
But now a little sadness ! All too sweet 
This springtide riot, this most poignant air, 
This sensuous world of color and perfume. 
So listen, love, while I the woes repeat 
Of Hamlet and Ophelia, and that pair 
Whose bridal bed was builded in a tomb. 



XXVIII SONNETS 401 



XXI 

OUTWARD BOUND 

I LEAVE behind me the elm-shadowed square 
And carven portals of the silent street, 
And wander on with listless, vagrant feet 
Through seaward-leading alleys, till the air 
Smells of the sea, and straightway then the care 
Slips from my heart, and life once more is sweet. 
At the lane's ending lie the white-winged fleet. 
O restless Fancy, whither wouldst thou fare ? 
Here are brave pinions that shall take thee far 
Gaunt hulks of Norway ; ships of red Ceylon ; 
Slim-masted lovers of the blue Azores ! 
'T is but an instant hence to Zanzibar, 
Or to the regions of the Midnight Sun ; 
Ionian isles are thine, and all the fairy shores ! 



402 XXVIII SONNETS 



XXII 

ELLEN TERRY IN "THE MERCHANT 

OF VENICE" 

As there she lives and moves upon the scene, 
So lived and moved this radiant womanhood 
In Shakespeare's vision ; in such wise she stood 
Smiling upon Bassanio ; such her mien 
When pity dimmed her eyelids' golden sheen, 
Hearing Antonio's story, and the blood 
Paled on her cheek, and all her lightsome mood 
Was gone. This shape in Shakespeare's thought 

has been ! 

Thus dreamt he of her in gray London town ; 
Such were her eyes ; on such gold-colored hair 
The grave young judge's velvet cap was set ; 
So stood she lovely in her crimson gown. 
Mine were a happy cast, could I but snare 
Her beauty in a sonnet's fragile net. 



XXVIII SONNETS 403 



XXIII 

THE POETS 

WHEN this young Land has reached its wrinkled 

prime, 

And we are gone and all our songs are done, 
And naught is left unchanged beneath the sun, 
What other singers shall the womb of Time 
Bring forth to reap the sunny slopes of rhyme ? 
For surely till the thread of life be spun 
The world shall not lack poets, though but one 
Make lonely music like a vesper chime 
Above the heedless turmoil of the street. 
What new strange voices shall be given to these, 
What richer accents of melodious breath ? 
Yet shall they, baffled, lie at Nature's feet 
Searching the volume of her mysteries, 
And vainly question the fixed eyes of Death. 



404 XXVIII SONNETS 



XXIV 

THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY 

FOREVER am I conscious, moving here, 

That should I step a little space aside 

I pass the boundary of some glorified 

Invisible domain it lies so near ! 

Yet nothing know we of that dim frontier 

Which each must cross, whatever fate betide, 

To reach the heavenly cities where abide 

(Thus Sorrow whispers) those that were most dear, 

Now all transfigured in celestial light ! 

Shall we indeed behold them, thine and mine, 

Whose going hence made black the noonday sun ? 

Strange is it that across the narrow night 

They fling us not some token, or make sign 

That all beyond is not Oblivion. 



XXVIII SONNETS 405 



XXV 

ANDROMEDA 

THE smooth-worn coin and threadbare classic 

phrase 

Of Grecian myths that did beguile my youth, 
Beguile me not as in the olden days : 
I think more grief and beauty dwell with truth. 
Andromeda, in fetters by the sea, 
Star-pale with anguish till young Perseus came, 
Less moves me with her suffering than she, 
The slim girl figure fettered to dark shame, 
That nightly haunts the park, there, like a shade 5 
Trailing her wretchedness from street to street. 
See where she passes neither wife nor maid , 
How all mere fiction crumbles at her feet ! 
Here is woe's self, and not the mask of woe: 
A legend's shadow shall not move you so ! 



4 o6 XXVIII SONNETS 



XXVI 

REMINISCENCE 

THOUGH I am native to this frozen zone 

That half the twelvemonth torpid lies, or dead ; 

Though the cold azure arching overhead 

And the Atlantic's never-ending moan 

Are mine by heritage, I must have known 

Life otherwhere in epochs long since fled ; 

For in my veins some Orient blood is red, 

And through my thought are lotus blossoms blown. 

I do remember ... it was just at dusk, 

Near a walled garden at the river's turn 

(A thousand summers seem but yesterday !), 

A Nubian girl, more sweet than Khoorja musk, 

Came to the water-tank to fill her urn, 

And, with the urn, she bore my heart away ! 



XXVIII SONNETS 407 



XXVII 

ON READING WILLIAM WATSON'S SON- 
NETS ENTITLED "THE PURPLE EAST" 

1896 

RESTLESS the Northern Bear amid his snows 
Crouched by the Neva ; menacing is France, 
That sees the shadow of the Uhlan's lance 
On her clipped borders ; struggling in the throes 
Of wanton war lies Spain, and deathward goes. 
And thou, O England, how the time's mischance 
Hath fettered thee, that with averted glance 
Thou standest, marble to Armenia's woes ! 
If 'twas thy haughty Daughter of the West 
That stayed thy hand, a word had driven away 
Her sudden ire, and brought her to thy breast ! 
Thy blood makes quick her pulses, and some day, 
Not now, yet some day, at thy soft behest 
She by thy side shall hold the world at bay. 



4o8 XXVIII SONNETS 



XXVIII 

"I VEX ME NOT WITH BROODING ON 

THE YEARS" 

I VEX me not with brooding on the years 

That were ere I drew breath : why should I then 

Distrust the darkness that may fall again 

When life is done ? Perchance in other spheres 

Dead planets I once tasted mortal tears, 

And walked as now amid a throng of men, 

Pondering things that lay beyond my ken, 

Questioning death, and solacing my fears. 

Ofttimes indeed strange sense have I of this, 

Vague memories that hold me with a spell, 

Touches of unseen lips upon my brow, 

Breathing some incommunicable bliss ! 

In years foregone, O Soul, was all not well ? 

Still lovelier life awaits thee. Fear not thou ! 



AN ODE 

ON THE UNVEILING OF THE SHAW 
MEMORIAL ON BOSTON COMMON 

May Thirty-First, 1897 



NOT with slow, funereal sound 
Come we to this sacred ground ; 
Not with wailing fife and solemn muffled drum, 
Bringing a cypress wreath 

To lay, with bended knee, 
On the cold brows of Death 
Not so, dear God, we come, 
But with the trumpets' blare 
And shot-torn battle-banners flung to air, 
As for a victory ! 

Hark to the measured tread of martial feet, 
The music and the murmurs of the street ! 
No bugle breathes this day 

Disaster and retreat ! 

409 



4 io SHAW MEMORIAL ODE 

Hark, how the iron lips 
Of the great battle-ships 
Salute the City from her azure Bay ! 



ii 



Time was time was, ah, unforgotten years ! 
We paid our hero tribute of our tears. 

But now let go 

All sounds and signs and formulas of woe : 
'T is Life, not Death, we celebrate ; 
To Life, not Death, we dedicate 
This storied bronze, whereon is wrought 
The lithe immortal figure of our thought, 
To show forever to men's eyes, 
Our children's children's children's eyes, 
How once he stood 
In that heroic mood, 
He and his dusky braves 
So fain of glorious graves ! 
One instant stood, and then 
Drave through that cloud of purple steel and 

flame, 

Which wrapt him, held him, gave him not again, 
But in its trampled ashes left to Fame 
An everlasting name ! 



SHAW MEMORIAL ODE 41 



III 

That was indeed to live 

At one bold swoop to wrest 

From darkling death the best 

That death to life can give. 

He fell as Roland fell 

That day at Roncevaux, 
With foot upon the ramparts of the foe ! 

A paean, not a knell, 

For heroes dying so ! 

No need for sorrow here, 

No room for sigh or tear, 
Save such rich tears as happy eyelids know. 

See where he rides, our Knight ! 

Within his eyes the light 
Of battle, and youth's gold about his brow ; 
Our Paladin, our Soldier of the Cross, 

Not weighing gain with loss 

World-loser, that won all 

Obeying duty's call ! 

Not his, at peril's frown, 

A pulse of quicker beat ; 

Not his to hesitate 

And parley hold with Fate, 

But proudly to fling down 

His gauntlet at her feet. 



412 SHAW MEMORIAL ODE 

O soul of loyal valor and white truth, 

Here, by this iron gate, 
Thy serried ranks about thee as of yore, 

Stand thou for evermore 

In thy undying youth ! 

The tender heart, the eagle eye ! 
Oh, unto him belong 
The homages of Song ; 
Our praises and the praise 
Of coming days 
To him belong 
To him, to him, the dead that shall not die ! 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

A blight, a gloom, I know not what, has crept upon my gladness, 356. 

A certain man of Ischia it is thus, 101. 

A certain Pasha, dead these thousand years, 54. 

A crafty Persian set this stone, 69. 

A glance, a word and joy or pain, 203. 

A gothic window, where a damask curtain, 141. 

A little mound with chipped headstone, 196. 

A man should live in a garret aloof, 14. 

A poor dwarf's figure, looming through the dense, 201. 

A soldier of the Cromwell stamp, 47. 

A sorrowful woman said to me, 38. 

Above an ancient book, with a knight's crest, 265. 

After long days of angry sea and sky, 377. 

Ah, sad are they who know not love, 59. 

All day to watch the blue wave curl and break, 25. 

As sweet as the breath that goes, 42. 

As there she lives and moves upon the scene, 402. 

At Haroun's court it chanced, upon a time, 62. 

At noon of night, and at the night's pale end, 42. 

At Shiraz, in a sultan's garden, stood, i. 

Because the sky is blue ; because blithe May, 400. 

Because thou com'st, a weary guest, 54. 

Before you reach the slender, high-arched bridge, 213. 

Beneath the heavy veil you wear, 49. 

Beneath the warrior's helm, behold, 126. 

Between the budding and the falling leaf, 291. 

Black Tragedy lets slip her grim disguise, 197. 



Bonnet in hand, obsequious and discreet, 204. 



4H INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

Bretagne had not her peer. In the Province far or near, 103. 
By studying my lady's eyes, 137. 

Close on the edge of a midsummer dawn, 278. 
Curled up and sitting on her feet, 148. 

Day is a snow-white Dove of heaven, 195. 

Enamored architect of airy rhyme, 386. 
Ere half the good I planned to do, 202. 
Ere the moon begins to rise, 377. 

Fantastic sleep is busy with my eyes, 390. 

First, two white arms that held him very close, 357.' 

Fixed to her necklace, like another gem, 200. 

Forever am I conscious, moving here, 404. 

From mask to mask, amid the masquerade, 200. 

From yonder gilded minaret, 287. 

Gaunt shadows stretch along the hill, 38. 

Gifts they sent her manifold, 376. 

Good-night ! I have to say good-night, 41. 

Good sir, have you seen pass this way, 123. 

Great Captain, glorious in our wars, 371. 

Great thoughts in crude, unshapely verse set forth, 199. 

Hassan ben Abdul at the Ivory Gate, 67. 

Have you not heard the poets tell, 3. 

Here, in the twilight, at the well-known gate, 261. 

Herewith I send you three pressed withered flowers, 392. 

High in a tower she sings, 373. 

Honest I ago. When his breath was fled, 197. 

How long, O sister, how long, 273. 

Hushed is the music, hushed the hum of voices, 29. 

I beg you come to-night and dine, 128. 

I gave my heart its freedom to be gay, 198. 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 415 

I held his letter in my hand, 369. 

I know not in what fashion she was made, 294. 

I leave behind me the elm-shadowed square, 401. 

I like not lady-slippers, 60. 

I little know or care, 362. 

I little read those poets who have made, 203. 

I pray you, do not turn your head, 130. 

I say it under the rose, 150. 

I vex me not with brooding on the years, 408. 

I wonder what day of the week, 43. 

I would be the Lyric, 49. 

If my best wines mislike thy taste, 204. 

If thy soul, Herrick, dwelt with me, 35. 

I '11 not confer with Sorrow, 363. 

Imp of Dreams, when she's asleep, 141. 

In my nostrils the summer wind, 47. 

In other years lost youth's enchanted years, 34. 

In the crypt at the foot of the stairs, 45. 

In the draperies' purple gloom, 61. 

In the hush of the autumn night, 374. 

In youth, beside the lonely sea, 370. 

In youth my hair was black as night, 201. 

It happened once, in that brave land that lies, 257. 

It was with doubt and trembling, 229. 

Just as the moon was fading amid her misty rings, 50. 

Kind was my friend who, in the Eastern land, 55. 
Knowledge who hath it ? Nay, not thou, 369. 

" Let art be all in all," one time I said, 374. 

Let us keep him warm, 23. 

Like Crusoe, walking by the lonely strand, 368. 

Linked to a clod, harassed, and sad, 198. 

Listen, my masters ! I speak naught but truth, 292. 

Long ere the Pale Face, 90. 



416 INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

Looking at Fra Gervasio, 107. 
Lying by the summer sea, 9. 

Manoah's son, in his blind rage malign, 196. 
My mind lets go a thousand things, 356. 

Near my bed, there, hangs the picture jewels could not buy from me, 

56. 

No bird has ever uttered note, 203. 
No slightest golden rhyme he wrote, 203. 
No wonder Hafiz wrote such verses, when, 201. 
Not a breath in the stifled, dingy street ! 364. 
Not in the fabled influence of some star, 395. 
Not of desire alone is music born, 381. 
Not with slow, funereal sound, 409. 
Now is that sad time of year, 372. 
Now the red wins upon her cheek, 199. 
Now there was one who came in later days, 279. 

O cease, sweet music, let us rest, 58. 

O Hassem, greeting ! Peace be thine ! 72. 

O Wind and Wave, be kind to him, 295. 

October turned my maple's leaves to gold, 195. 

Once he sang of summer, 37. 

One by one they go, 288. 

One went East, and one went West, 366. 

Or light or dark, or short or tall, 197. 

Pauline ! 303. 

Pillared arch and sculptured tower, 359. 

Pleasant it is to lie amid the grass, 388. 

Rafters black with smoke, 135. 

Reader, you must take this verse, 195. 

Restless the Northern Bear amid his snows, 407. 

Romance beside his unstrung lute, 45. 

Room in your heart for him, O Mother Earth, 297. 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 417 

Scarcely sixteen years old, 145. 

See where at intervals the firefly's spark, 202. 

See where she stands, on the wet sea-sands, 27. 

Shakespeare and Milton what third blazoned name, 283. 

Sick of myself and all that keeps the light, 385. 

Slumber, hasten down this way, 366. 

So, after bath, the slave-girls brought, 58. 

So closely knit are mind and brain, 202. 

Some weep because they part, 199. 

Somewhere in desolate wind-swept space, 48. 

Soothed by the fountain's drowsy murmuring, 98. 

Sorrow, make a verse for me, 375. 

Stand here and look, and softly draw your breath, 396. 

Such kings of shreds have wooed and won her, 197. 

Take these rhymes into thy grace, 359. 

That face which no man ever saw, 300. 

The bloom that lies on Hilda's cheek, 142. 

The camp is hushed ; the fires burn low, 168. 

The face that Carlo Dolci drew, 19. 

The fault 's not mine, you understand, 198. 

The first world-sound that fell upon my ear, 271. 

The folk who lived in Shakespeare's day, 358. 

The Friar Jerome, for some slight sin, 81. 

The gray arch crumbles, 16. 

The increasing moonlight drifts across my bed, 382. 

The leafless branches snap with cold, 138. 

The long years come and go, 205. 

The new moon hung in the sky, 355. 

The rain has ceased, and in my room, 36. 

The sky is gray as gray may be, 365. 

The small green grapes in heavy clusters grew, 348. 

The smooth-worn coin and threadbare classic phrase, 405. 

The soft new grass is creeping o'er the graves, 383. 

The spare Professor, grave and bald, 133. 

The Summer comes and the Summer goes, 51. 

The thing I am, and not the thing Man is, 30. 



418 INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

The wind it wailed, the wind it moaned, 285. 

The woodland silence, one time stirred, 367. 

There is a rest for all things. On still nights, 12. 

These winter nights, against my window-pane, 37. 

They never crowned him, never dreamed his worth, 398. 

They parted, with clasps of hand, 129. 

This is the difference, neither more nor less, 198. 

This one sits shivering in Fortune's smile, 196. 

Those forms we fancy shadows, those strange lights, 387. 

Thou listenest to us with unheeding ear, 44. 

Thou singest by the gleaming isles, 7. 

Though gifts like thine the fates gave not to me, 68. 

Though I am native to this frozen zone, 406. 

Three roses, wan as moonlight and weighed down, 46. 

Through a chance fissure of the churchyard wall, 361. 

Thus spake his dust, so seemed it as 1 read, 391. 

'T is that fair time of year, 21. 

To him that hath, we are told, 196. 

To spring belongs the violet, and the blown, 379. 

To the sea-shell's spiral round, 40. 

Toiling across the Mer de Glace, 51. 

Touched with the delicate green of early May, 389. 

Tread softly here ; the sacredest of tombs, 277. 

Two things there are with Memory will abide, 202. 

Unheralded, like some tornado loosed, 315. 

Up from the dark the moon begins to creep, 200. 

Up to her chamber window, 39. 

Upon your hearse this flower I lay, 360. 

Vain is the mask. Who cannot at desire, 199. 
Valor, love, undoubting trust, 378. 

We knew it would rain, for all the morn, 36. 
What mortal knows, 201. 
When all the panes are hung with frost, 63. 
When first the crocus thrusts its point of gold, 363. 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 419 

When friends are at your hearthside met, 200. 

When from the tense chords of that mighty lyre, 301. 

When I behold what pleasure is pursuit, 384. 

When I was young and light of heart, 52. 

When the Sultan Shah-Zaman, 65. 

When this young Land has reached its wrinkled prime, 403. 

When to soft sleep we give ourselves away, 394. 

While yet my lip was breathing youth's first breath, 399. 

Who can say where Echo dwells, 149. 

Who is it opens her blue bright eye, 177. 

Who is Lydia, pray, and who, 153. 

Wide open and unguarded stand our gates, 275. 

Within the sacred precincts of the mosque, 70. 

Wouldst know the clash of knightly steel on steel, 361. 

Yonder we see it from the steamer's deck, 393. 

You ask us if by rule or no, 53. 

You by the Arno shape your marble dream, 397. 



GENERAL INDEX OF TITLES 



The titles of major works and of general divisions are set in SMALL 
CAPITALS. 



Act V., 357 
After the Rain, 36 
Alec Yeaton's Son, 285 
Alpine Picture, An, 396 
Amontillado, 135 
Andromeda, 405 
Apparitions, 42 
Appreciation, 40 
Arab Welcome, An, 54 
Art, 374 
At a Grave, 378 
At a Reading, 133 
At Bay Ridge, Long Island, 388 
At Nijnii-Novgorod, 69 
At Stratford-upon-Avon, 391 
At the Funeral of a Minor Poet, 
297 

BABY BELT. AND OTHER POEMS, 3 

Baby Bell, 3 

BAGATELLE, 123 

Ballad, A, 103 

Batuschka, 287 

Bay Ridge, Long Island, At, 388 

Bayard Taylor, 34 

Before the Rain, 36 

Bells at Midnight, The, 273 

Books and Seasons, 400 

Bridal Measure, A, 376 

Broken Music, 294 

Brownell, Henry Howard, 398 

By the Potomac, 383 

Carpe Diem, 137 

Child's Grave, A, 196 

Circumstance, 198 

CLOTH OF GOLD, 53 

Comedy, 129 

Coquette, 197 

Corydon A Pastoral, 123 

Cradle Song, 377 

Crescent and the Cross, The, 55 



Dans la Boheme, 138 
Day and Night, 195 
Dedication, A, 359 
Destiny, 46 
Difference, The, 199 
Dirge, 23 
Discipline, 45 
Dressing the Bride, 58 

Echo Song, 149 

Egypt, 390 

Eidolons, 387 

Elective Course, An, 142 

Ellen Terry in " The Merchant of 

Venice," 402 
Elmwood, 261 
Enamored architect of airy rhyme, 

386 

Epitaphs, 197 

Even this will pass away, 389 
Evil Easier than Good, 202 

Fireflies, 202 

Flight of the Goddess, The, 14 

FLOWER AND THORN, i 

FOOTNOTES, 195 

Forever and a Day, 362 

Fredericksburg, 382 

FRIAR JEROME'S BEAUTIFUL BOOK 

AND OTHER POEMS, 81 
Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book, 81 
From Eastern Sources, 201 
From the Spanish, 196 
Frost- Work, 37 
Funeral of a Minor Poet, At the, 

297 

Grace and Strength, 196 

Great captain, glorious in our wars, 

37i 
Guerdon, The, 98 

Guilielmus Rex, 358 



GENERAL INDEX OF TITLES 



421 



Hafiz, To, 68 

Henry Howard Brownell, 398 

Heredity, 47 

Hesperides, 35 

Hint from Hcrrick, A, 203 

Hospitality, 200 

Human Ignorance, 201 

I vex me not with brooding on the 

years, 408 
Identity, 48 

I '11 not confer with Sorrow, 363 
Imogen, 375 
Imp of Dreams, 141 
In an Atelier, 130 
In the Belfry of the Nieuwe Kerk, 

364 

In Westminster Ahbay, 277 
In youih, beside the lonely sea, 

370 

Insomnia, 366 
INTEKLUDES, 35, 355 
Invita Minerva, 381 
Invocation to Sleep, 12 

JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES, 315 

Kismet, 203 
Knowledge, 369 
Kriss Kriugle, 50 

Lament of El Moulok, The, 70 

Landscape, 38 

Last Caesar, The, 279 

Latakia, 63 

L'Eau Dormante, 148 

Legend < f Ara-Coeli, The, 107 

Letter. The, 369 

Like Crusoe, walking by the lonely 

strand. 368 
Lorelei, The, 393 
Lost Art, 52 
Lost at Sea, 19 
Love's Calendar, 51 
Lunch, The, 141 
Lynn Terrace, On, 25 
Lyrics and Epics, 49 

Maple Leaves, 195 
Masks, 197 
Memories, 202 
Memory, ^56 
Menu, The, 128 
MERCRDHS, 155 
Metempsychosis, The, 30 
Miantowona, 90 
Miracles, 385 



Monody on the Death of Wendell 

Phillips, 288 
Mood, A, 356 
Moounse at Sea, 200 
Myrulla, 198 

Nameless Pain, 47 
Necromancy, 361 
Nijnii- .Novgorod, At, 69 
No Songs in Winter, 365 
Nocturne, 39 
Nourmadee, 72 

Ode on the Unveiling of the Shaw 
Memorial on Boston Common, 
An, 409 

Oid Casde, An, 16 

Un a volume of anonymous poems 
entitled " A Masque of Poets," 
199 

On an Intaglio Head of Minerva, 
126 

On her Blushing, 199 

On Lynn Terrace, 25 

On Reading William Watson's Son- 
nets entitled "The Purple East," 
407 

On reading , 199 

One White Ro e, The, 38 

One Woman, 44 

Originality, 203 

Outward Bound, 401 

Palabras Carinosas, 41 

Palinode, 153 

Pampina, 9 

Parable, A, 366 

PAULINE PAVLOVNA, 303 

Pepita, 145 

Pessimist and Optimist, 196 

Pessimistic Poets, 203 

Petition, A, 379 

Phillips, Wendell, Monody on the 

Death of, 288 
Piazza of St. Mark at Midnight, The, 

29 
Pillared arch and sculptured tower, 

359 

Pi^cataqna River, 7 
Poets, The, 403 
Points of View, 204 
Popularity, 197 
Prelude, A, 67 
Prescience, 355 
Problem, 202 

Proem (to CLOTH OF GOLD), 53 
Pursuit and Possession, 384 



422 



GENERAL INDEX OF TITLES 



Queen's Ride, The, 21 
Quus, 204 

Rarity of Genius, The, 399 
Realism, 45 
Retrain, A, 373 
Reminiscence, 406 
Renco.ure, 51 
Romeo ami Juliet, 200 
Rose, 'ihe, 200 



Sailing of the Autocrat, The, 295 

Santo Doming.., 377 

Sargent's Portrait of Edwin Booth 

at " 'I'll- Piayers,'' 300 
Sea Longings, 271 
Seadrm, 27 
Seaming Defeat, 367 
Sestet, 361 

Shadow of the Night, A, 278 
Shaw Alcmurial, An Ude on the Un- 

veiiing of t. e, 409 
Shipman's Tale, The, 292 
SISTEKS' IRAGED\, AND OTHER 

POEMS, THE, 257 
Sifters' Tragedy, The, 257 
Sleep, 394 
Sno\\flnke, A, 37 
Soldiers' Serr--, 16^ 
SONNETS, XXVIII, 381 
Sppnr'thrifi, 108 

SPRING IN NF.W ENGLAND, 205 
Stratford-npon-Avon, At, 391 
Sultana, The, 61 
Sweetheart, sigh no more, 229 

Taylor, Bayard, 34 



Tennyson, 283 

Thalia, 150 

Thorwaidbcn, 395 

Three Little White Teeth, The, 

177 

Threnody, 360 
Tiger LiLes, 60 
Tita's Tears, 101 
To Hafiz, 68 

To L. T. in Florence, 397 
I'o the Reader, 1^,5 
Touch of Nature, A, 363 
Turkish Legend, A, 54 
Two Masks, The, 198 
i'wo Moods, 291 
Two Songs from the Persian, 58 

Undiscovered Country, The, 404 
Unforgiven, The, 56 

Unguarded Gates, 275 

Ui.sunp, 42 

Untimely Thought, An, 43 

Voice of the Sea, The, 374 

Westmins'er Albey, In, 277 

When from the tense chords of that 

mighty lyre, 301 
When the Suhan goes to Ispahan, 

'-5 

White Edith, 265 
Winter Piece, A, 49 
Winter Robin, The, 372 
With Three Flowers, 392 
World's Way, The, 62 
WYNDHAM TOWERS, 213 












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